Title claim response funds sought

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Title claim response funds sought

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher will be asked to provide State Government funding to South East councils to enable them to respond to long-running Native Title claims over significant portions of this region.

The request follows a formal motion from Councillor Dale Price which was endorsed at the June monthly meeting of Wattle Range Council on Tuesday night.

Ahead of moving his motion, Cr Price had clarified the source of council’s funding for its Native Title response.

In reply, deputy chief executive Paul Duka said the funding came from Wattle Range Council’s legal budget.

Mr Duka said a major Adelaide legal firm was acting in the Native Title matter for the seven South East councils as well as the Coorong District Council.

Cr Price then moved his successful motion to Minister Maher to provide equitable funding to the eight councils for the cost of their technical research into the Native Title claims.

According to Cr Price, the claimants were funded by the taxpayers of South Australia.

“This is unfair on our ratepayers and cost-shifting,” Cr Price said.

“This is nothing to do with the outcome; it is about process.”

His remarks were endorsed by Cr David Walshaw who said State Government funding should be provided to councils to enable them to do their due diligence.

Council chief executive Ben Gower said the request to Minister Maher was fair as Wattle Range has care and control of a number of parcels of Crown Land which are subject to Native Title claims.

Minister Maher has been approached for comment.

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