Me-Mel (Goat Island) to be transferred to Aboriginal Community
The NSW Government has today taken a significant step in the process for transferring Me-Mel (Goat Island) to Aboriginal ownership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Me-Mel Transfer Committee.
$43 million is committed to remediate and restore Me-Mel and pave the way for the transfer back to the Aboriginal community.
The committee will identify options for the transfer, develop recommendations for cultural, tourism and public uses of the site, and provide advice on the management of the site.
It will also develop a strategic business case to be considered by the NSW Government.
The Committee is made up of key Aboriginal representatives, along with NSW Government representatives from the Cabinet Office, Aboriginal Affairs NSW and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
A wide range of engagement activities and consultation will be undertaken with the Aboriginal community, the broader public and other stakeholders on the plans for future ownership and management options.
Committee members have given unanimous support to a Registered Aboriginal Owners research project which aims to identify Aboriginal Owners of Me Mel.
This research will be independently undertaken by the Office of the Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ORALRA) and is due to commence in the second half of 2023.
To prepare for the transfer of the island, National Parks and Wildlife Service is also undertaking a large-scale remediation and conservation program of the island’s built assets.
The 14-member committee includes:
- Aboriginal community representatives including Shane Phillips, Amanda Reynolds, Elizabeth Tierney and Ash Walker.
- Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council representatives include Allan Murray, Nathan Moran, Eunice Roberts and Jennah Dungay.
- NSW Aboriginal Land Council representatives include Heidi Hardy and Abie Wright.
- NSW Government members include Angie Stringer, Director Aboriginal Partnerships, Planning and Heritage and Deon van Rensburg, Director Greater Sydney Branch, National Parks & Wildlife Service; Nikki Williams, Director for Economic Policy Branch, The Cabinet Office; and Jonathon Captain-Webb, Director, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, Land and Economy for Aboriginal Affairs NSW.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“I am proud to be taking another step towards transferring this island to the Aboriginal community.
“The island will be a symbol of reconciliation in the heart of Sydney Harbour.
“We are listening to the Aboriginal community through this process.
“That is what the signing of this agreement is all about.
“I thank the previous government and its former premiers for their commitment to this project over many years.
“We are proud to continue this work with the committee."
Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe said:
“This transfer is many years in the making. It represents a genuine cultural collaboration.
“I look forward to the recommendations from the Committee”.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said:
“This diverse committee plays a crucial role in advising government on how the transfer of Me Mel to aboriginal community could work.”
“We will look to the results of this important research project and to the Aboriginal people for what happens next.”