The recent Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Summit at the Sunshine Coast Conference Centre, 30 years after Mabo, was one of the biggest gatherings ever of this kind.

Convened in partnership with Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS) and hosted by our Kabi Kabi peoples, Navigating the spaces in between was this year’s theme, providing a forum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, academics, native title stakeholders, legal experts, community and cultural sectors and government to collaborate in addressing current and future challenges.

On the day we attended, we were privy to a number of speakers on partnerships between our First Nations people, government and the private sector, and provide the following summary regarding the Cooloola Great Walk Project (GGWP) presentation by Kabi Kabi representative Brian Warner and Michael Lamprell from CABN.

There were five key takeaways:

  • The accommodation sites for the Cooloola Great Walk are still being determined, though there was confirmation that the Upper Noosa River site will be relocated, with a Poona relocation still being determined by the Kabi Kabi Cultural Heritage representatives.
  • Kabi Kabi peoples will be making the decision regarding final sites.
  • Kabi Kabi peoples are committed to using their Native Titles rights to:
    • Better manage 4WD numbers and driver behaviour on Teewah Beach
    • Prevent fossil fuel powered boats using the Upper Noosa River, upstream from the Kinaba information centre.
  • Kabi Kabi peoples will be introducing a Restricted Access Area (RAA) at Double Island Point for Kabi Kabi people’s campground which has been known previously, and a strip of land around the perimeter of Lake Poona. This proposed RAA was a surprise as not part of the original intent of the project.

Even though there was some clarification to advocacies of concerns, there is a couple that remain including specifics on the alternative sites, and the Poona RAA.

As always, we continue to respect the rights of our Kabi Kabi peoples as per their Native Title claim under the Native Title Act 1993, and thank all who have been involved to ensure that all concerns are addressed. Through negotiations, I believe that the needed modifications of site selections at Lake Poona and the Upper Noosa River will be achieved, as well reduction of accommodations at Double Island Point.  We have requested that announcements regarding these sites be made prior to the ILUA expected in August.

Whilst Lake Poona is situated in the Gympie Electorate, we trust that our Kabi Kabi and state government can jointly agree to keep Lake Poona accessible to all walkers. This was outlined at the beginning of the project, to ensure existing walkers would not be disadvantaged through any commercialisation.

Please read previous updates regarding the Cooloola Great Walk, the responses to concerns and processes to date, including determinations under the Native Title Act 1993 and Indigenous Land Use Agreements here.

For any queries, please email us or call our office 53193100.

Queensland South Native Title Services (QNTS) can provide assistance to Traditional Owners in relation to Native Title claims. More information can be found at or phone 07 3224 1200. To read their ‘Policies and Procedures Relating to Performance Functions’ document, visit