Yesterday in Parliament I paid tribute to the Jawoyn people celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the return of their country, Nitmiluk.
On September 10th 1989, the Jawoyn people won a Land Claim for Nitmiluk, previously known as the Katherine Gorge.
Now 30 years on, we can look at the handback as a triumph with a ground-breaking Park Joint Management Agreement between the Jawoyn people and the Northern Territory Government to operate Nitmiluk National Park.
True to their word in 1989 at the handback, the Jawoyn people have shared their amazing country with more than 270,000 visitors a year. Nitmiluk National Park has become an award winning, internationally acclaimed attraction creating economic opportunities for both the Jawoyn people, the town of Katherine and the Northern Territory.
I congratulate the Jawoyn people on the successful Nitmiluk Festival held over 10 days to mark the 30th Anniversary. The range of fantastic events including; a stunning sold out Concert in the Gorge, evening markets, Sharing Country, an exhibition of Jawoyn culture, history and land, Family Fun Day, and a Bird Festival.
The story of Nitmiluk and the Jawoyn people is a remarkable one, that will be forever part of an important time in our history both locally and nationally, the time we began to recognise more than 60,000 years of history in Australia.