CRAIG L THOMSON
The Brisbane City Council today unanimously voted to hand back the Jagera Hall to local Indigenous people, ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit.
A number of Aboriginal activists sat in the public gallery as Council Opposition leader Milton Dick moved a motion to recognise the rights of the Indigenous owners of Musgrave Park.
Indigenous activist Wayne ‘Coco’ Wharton told The Source News the council had locked them out of the Jagera Hall earlier today and important documents were locked up along with banners and G20 protest paraphernalia.
“The council is sabotaging our plans for protests at the G20,” he said.
Lord Mayor Quirk said that he had been waiting for the Jagera people to come to him for two years regarding a long-term lease on the Hall.
Cr Milton Dick said the Lord Mayor needed to show the world ahead of the G20 that we care for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.
“Today we are after a step forward, a step forward we have been waiting for, for two years,” Councillor Dick said.
“It’s not good enough to say you have been waiting for two years for a phone call; leadership does not sit and wait for a phone call.
“If you are true to your word you make the phone call.”
Lord Mayor Quirk did eventually support Councillor Dick’s motion.
Aboriginal leader Sam Watson was denied permission to speak to the council but later said he was gratified by the support his people received across council chambers.
“This is such an important issue to us and it is a strong gesture of reconciliation,” he said.
“We aren’t going to let this stay tied up in red tape, we have a real sense of urgency.
“Firstly we need our records returned to us they are all in council hands at the moment, once that is done we can get on with self governance.”
Mr Watson also reiterated that today’s events should have no effect on their peaceful protests at the G20.
“We have always had peaceful protests and we have always worked well with police and other parties so that any propensity for violence is minimised,” he said.
The Jagera people plan to hold peaceful; protest across the G20 to bring world attention to their causes.