Anglican Church critical of Wild Rivers Act

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson says a new report by the Anglican Church proves the Queensland Government is wrong about the economic impact of its wild rivers laws.

The study released today has found the controversial legislation stifles development and erodes Indigenous rights in Cape York.

Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott says he will introduce a private members bill to overturn the Queensland laws.

Mr Pearson has urged MPs to read the report before voting on the bill.

“We now have an umpire who’s come in and produced an objective and comprehensive analysis in the form of Spiritus, the social justice agency of the Anglican Church,” he said.

Anglican Dean of Brisbane Peter Catt says the State Government did not obtain the consent of Indigenous landholders before making the declarations.

“Decades have been spent giving Indigenous people rights to land and now we’re taking away the right to use their land for any good purpose,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indigenous leaders and traditional owners at odds with Mr Pearson’s position are in Canberra today to lobby against Mr Abbott’s plan to disband the Wild Rivers Act.

The group includes Murrandoo Yanner from the Carpentaria Land Council.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the laws can co-exist with economic development.

“We’ve had a number of rivers in the Gulf declared now for three and four years and we’ve had 100 development applications approved for real economic activity,” she said.

“Real jobs are being created for Aboriginal people in the Gulf.”



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