The Daintree, a lowland tropical rainforest believed to be the oldest in the world, is about 125 km (78 miles) north of the tourist hub of Cairns and borders the Great Barrier Reef. It is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland UNESCO World Heritage site.
This historic event will see a total of 160,108 hectares of land returned to Eastern Kuku Yalanji ownership. The Kuku Yalanji people have a history dating back 50,000 years in this area of Australia. Aboriginal Australians have the longest continuous living culture in the world.
"The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people's culture is one of the world's oldest living cultures and this agreement recognises their right to own and manage their Country, to protect their culture and to share it with visitors as they become leaders in the tourism industry”. Meaghan Scanlon, the Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, said.
The return of the Daintree, Ngalba Bulal and Kalkajaka (formerly Black Mountain) National Parks marks the first time ownership of World Heritage listed National Parks has been returned to First Nations people in Queensland.
The historic return to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people took four years of negotiations with the Queensland government.