THE major proponent of the $130m Lucky Bay Port Facility development in South Australia, T-Ports, has signed an agreement with the Barngarla people, Traditional Owners of the Eyre Peninsula. This is an Indigenous Land Use Agreement covering the Lucky Bay port development project that plans to transship grain from growers in the region.

The Lucky Bay Port Indigenous Land Use Agreement was initially registered with the Native Title register in 2018 and had recently been re-negotiated to include T-Ports and, amongst other things, provide part ownership in the project to the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation.

T-Ports CEO Kieran Carvill said the agreement was of historic importance to both parties.

“We are deeply honoured to include the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation as partners in the T-Ports shareholder structure and recognise the rights of the first nation peoples as custodians of this land,” he said.

“This agreement is the culmination of several years of discussions between all parties.”

As part of the agreement and the ongoing co-operation between T-Ports and the BDAC, T-Ports will look to develop a Barngarla Ranger program, support scholarships for Barngarla students and provide job opportunities.

Barngarla chairperson Jason Bilney said that this was a proud day for all Barngarla.

“To successfully work with industry, and to re-negotiate this agreement to benefit of both the project and Barngarla is very important to us,” he said.

“T-Ports have been good to work with. They have respected our ancient connection to our country, land and sea as Traditional Owners of the Eyre Peninsula. We have worked through changes that we needed and they needed.

“We are very proud to be part of a project which will help both our community and the Eyre Peninsula as a whole. We look forward to this project being successful for many years to come.”

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Barngarla elder and deputy chairperson, Roderick Wingfield, said, “Nothing can happen without respect. T-Ports have respected us, and we respect this project.

“To own part of the project is something that our future generations can be proud of.”

T-Ports CEO Kieran Carvill said it is of key importance for all businesses to recognise that Native Title needs to be taken seriously and not regarded as some cash transaction or a “cheap pay-out”.

“We need to actively develop a culture of respect and inclusion, recognising that the first nation custodians of the land are exactly that,” he said.

“The Barngarla people are another key stakeholder group on the Eyre Peninsula to take ownership in this port, with growers who deliver grain to the port also taking a shareholding.”

The ports constructed by T-Ports will be multi-user and multi-commodity transshipment ports, with the first at Lucky Bay on Eyre Peninsula and a second planned for Wallaroo on Yorke Peninsula. Lucky Bay’s development has been based on agricultural product and over time, will be expanded to allow export of local minerals.

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