A group of Ngunnawal traditional owners have used the 30th anniversary of the Mabo decision to announce their intention to lodge a native title claim over the entire ACT and parts of NSW.

Ngunawal Nation Traditional Owners Network Group spokeswoman Sonia Shea said Mabo Day was a “significant day” to announce the group’s intention to “ensure our culture, rights and interests through the Native Title Act”.

There have been previous native title applications lodged in the ACT, in 1996 and 1997, which were withdrawn in 2001 when the ACT government and Ngunnawal people reached an agreement over a special 99-year joint management lease for Namadgi National Park.

In a press conference this afternoon, the group said anthropological research was currently being undertaken into their genealogical links to the boundary over which they intended to lay claim.

Ms Shea said once that was completed, the group would finalise the process.

The group has also acquired legal representation.

Ngunnawal man Bradley Mapiva Brown said the ancestral group had occupied the area for about 60,000 years.

Mr Brown said some of the group’s “key principles” included “the preservation of Ngunnawal sovereign and identity”, and the protection of their boundaries.

He said they also aimed to protect Ngunnawal culture and heritage for future generations.

Another Ngunnawal man, Stephen ‘Djibin’ Mudford, said the planned lodgement was about making a “statement”.

He said the group had been working to collect a “lot of evidence” in support of their claim.

By 4difm

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