Wamba Wamba property dispute

A DISTRICT Aboriginal clan is in dispute with a regional body over claims to a property in the Mellool farming district.

Wamba Wamba elders have accused Mallee and District Aboriginal Services of undermining the rights and interests of the Wamba Wamba Clans by attempting to gain control of the property.

Wamba Wamba spokesman, Gary Murray said that the clan regarded Menera Station, a 3500-acre property with 2600 megalitres of water right, as a major component of addressing dispossession of its lands and its cultural and economic aspirations underpinned by native title settlements in Victoria and New South Wales.

The property is located 55 kilometres north-west of Barham and a lease arrangement with the owners is proposed to enhance tourism and cultural activities.

Mr Murray said that Wamba Wamba elders are so concerned that they have placed a ban on the service's staff and board.

"They are not welcome on our Country," he said.

"The Wamba Wamba will also be talking to other First Nations about similar bans." Meetings will be held at Swan Hill late next week to consider their legal and political strategies and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion has also been asked to intervene and investigate the Wamba Wamba concerns with respect to the regional service's operations and governance.

"On 11 April 2014 the three chairs of the Wamba Wamba Baraparapa Wadi Wadi Native Title Full Claim Group wrote to the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation Incorporated trading as Mallee and District Aboriginal Services aka MADAS (MACI) a health service based in Mildura," Mr Murray said.

"The only response from MACI Board and CEO was a disrespectful and unprofessional silence."

"The letter e-mailed expressed strong concern that MACI was undermining the rights and interests of the Wamba Wamba Clans by proposing to the Indigenous Land Corporation that a property Menera Station in Wamba Wamba Country be leased and transferred to MACI instead of the Wamba Wamba.

Mr Murray said that there is no support or authorisation from any Murray River First Nations for MACI to own or control Menera Station and the sacred burial grounds on the property or any activity on the property. 

A response was sought from Mallee and District Aboriginal Services chief executive officer, Rudolph Kirby, but he had not returned the call. The service operates outlets at Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang.

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