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QUEEN STEPS ON TO ABORIGINAL LAND IN THE OUTBACK

The Queen has visited Australia's Outback where she was greeted by members of the local Aboriginal tribe in their traditional language.

The Queen's visit to central Australia is the first since landmark court rulings in 1992 and 1996 which found that Aboriginal land rights were not wiped out by the arrival of British colonists in 1788.

Under a blazing sun, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were met by members of the Arrernte tribe who last year successfully claimed native title rights to areas in and around Alice Springs.

The Queen is scheduled to visit a wildlife reserve which is one of the areas where Australia's Federal Court found native title still exists.

The visit to the Desert Park Environment Centre will mark the first time the Queen has stood on land where Aboriginal native title has been found to exist alongside Australia's land ownership laws.

"For the first time in history, we are recognised as native title holders of this land by the Queen and are given the opportunity to welcome her to our country," said Max Stuart, chairman of the Aboriginal Central Land Council which laid the Arrernte people's claim.

"This will be remembered by my people and become part of our history for our children to look back on in the future."

The wildlife reserve is owned by the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service but Arrernte people have native title, giving them limited rights to camp, hunt and gather and protect their sacred sites on the land.


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