Christine Royan (Sec. Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation).
Christine Royan (Sec. Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation). Alistair Brightman

Butchulla people have cultural plans for K'gari

IF BUTCHULLA Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) is successful in its claim to get compensation over Fraser Island, Joyce Bonner would be running language lessons on the World Heritage Site.

"I first heard the Butchulla language when I was 23," she said.

The Butchulla elder fell in love with it in that moment and has been learning the language for decades since.

"It is a passion and a way to connect with culture.

"Even just teaching simple phrases will raise cultural awareness.

"Like galangoor nyin means thank you."

BAC has made its claim to the Federal Court of Australia seeking for compensation.

They said they failed to get compensation when awarded a native title to the island in 2014.

If successful, they plan to use the money to grow businesses on the island.

The case is now open to members of the public to apply to become a party to it.

The National Native Title Tribunal has said that BAC was the first group to ever make a compensation claim on Fraser Island.

"The claimants are claiming monetary compensation for the loss, diminution, extinguishment or impairment of their native title rights and interests in the relevant areas," a NNTT spokesperson said.

Jan Williams is another member of the Butchulla community who is optimistic of the opportunities that could arise from the compensation.

"My children and I are artists, and this will be an chance to showcase the skills that Butchulla people have," she said.

BAC secretary Christine Royan told the Fraser Coast Chronicle that they were seeking a sum in the "millions".

"I believe we have 100% chance of winning this compensation against the state," she said.

The NNTT spokesperson wasn't able to confirm an exact sum that BAC would be eligible for.

"That is up to the court to decide," they said.

"The application is a matter before the Federal Court and will be heard by a single judge in the first instance.

"The judge will consider the application and decide whether or not compensation is due and the quantum of compensation."



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