Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation is proud to announce its appointment as the Recognised Aboriginal Representative Body (RARB) for its native title determination area under Part 2B of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA).
In the letter of appointment, the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee (Committee) Chairperson, Mr Mark Koolmatrie noted: “KAC has worked in good faith and in partnership with the Committee to achieve an historic and positive outcome for Traditional Owners, as well as for Aboriginal cultural heritage protection in South Australia. The Committee notes that KAC is the first RNTBC that it has appointed as a RARB. I hope KAC feels proud.”
We do! This is an historic decision for Kokatha people, and all Aboriginal people in South Australia. As KAC Heritage Services Manager and Culture & Heritage Committee member, Glen Wingfield said, “This recognition has bought the Kokatha community great joy. Our Elders set the foundation for this decision and now our community corporation has been able to deliver on their work. The Committee has recognised our connection to our country and our role as the Traditional Owners of our land to look after heritage. I am proud that KAC is the first RNTBC to be appointed as a RARB and our old people would be proud too.”
The KAC Board and staff have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Kokatha community to ensure that we fulfil the responsibilities of a RARB under the Act, understand and represent the views of all Traditional Owners of the Aboriginal heritage on KAC’s lands, and champion Aboriginal heritage interests there to the extent possible. This has included the valued assistance of the SAHC and AAR in guiding the development and adoption of a KAC RARB policy framework which is complementary to our current operations and governance practices.
“The KAC Board of Directors have shown great leadership in this matter as the elected representatives of the Kokatha community and have been well supported by corporate staff and the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee executive,” said KAC CEO Cate Ballantyne. “It is a great example of what can be achieved when we come together; when our governance structures and connections are strong we can deliver benefit to our whole community, and other Aboriginal communities too. KAC will represent the views of all Traditional Owners of the Aboriginal heritage on KAC’s lands, and we hope this opens the door for more appointments. We are the first RNTBC to be awarded RARB status, but we should not be the last.”
“KAC has come a long way in the last year and the announcement that it has been granted RARB status shows that we are moving in the right direction. It is an important milestone for the Kokatha people and Aboriginal people in South Australia. KAC has worked for a long time towards being granted RARB status. This is an important milestone for us all,” added Mr Daniel Ramm, Acting Chairperson of Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation.
You can read more about this historic appointment in the attached joint press release, including statements from the South Australian Premier, KAC Chairperson and the Committee Chairperson.