Returned To Traditional Owners After 120 Years

Nov 23, 2022

Historic land deal signals new dawn for world famous El Questro Homestead

Furthering El Questro Homestead’s strong commitment to business with purpose, the G’day Group has today secured a historic land deal struck between the Government and the local Indigenous corporation to return land to its Traditional Owners and lease it back for tourism purposes.

G’day Group Chief Executive Officer, Grant Wilckens was pleased to announce “as a business, we are committed to a long-term strategy of sustainability and deeper connection with Traditional Owners right across Australia and we are hopeful that this agreement can serve as a framework for other tourism operators and pastoralists, ensuring that Indigenous rights to land are at the forefront.”

The 99-year lease was signed today at 11.30am AWST at Parliament House in a landmark agreement between the Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation (WAC) and the Western Australian Government. The historic Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) covers the traditional lands of Wanjina Wungurr Wilinggin people at El Questro Wilderness Park in The Kimberley and sees approximately 165,000 hectares of El Questro stretching south of the Gibb River Road converted from a pastoral lease to freehold and reserve and returned to its Traditional Owners by the West Australian Government, nearly 120 years after El Questro was established as a cattle station.

Under the terms of the previous pastoral lease, livestock were also required to be maintained on the land. However, this agreement will enable livestock to be moved on from the property, allowing for the restoration of the natural environment. Not only does this return lands to the Traditional Owners after 120 years, it provides the local Indigenous community with significant economic benefits through a commercial lease arrangement, ongoing training and employment for the community’s young people and opportunities to establish cultural tourism experiences supported by El Questro Homestead.

While the guest experience is key, El Questro’s managers have always recognised that they have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land and the conservation of Indigenous heritage.

“When we acquired this property in 2021, a priority for us was to find a way to secure flexible longterm tenure for our business and enable Traditional Owners to leverage their native title rights into a genuine economic asset.”- G’day Group Chief Executive Officer Grant Wilckens.

Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation Chair, Arnold Sahanna said “this Agreement and the model developed for collaborative development outcomes for the Kimberley is a solid achievement that we hope our young people will see as a way forward for our community to regain our place at the table of decision making in matters that impact on our lives as the Traditional Owners of this part of the country.”

Under the terms of the landmark ILUA, part of the land will be leased back to El Questro’s operator, the G’day Group, on a 99-year term and the company will retain the right to conduct tourism activities over the whole of the former pastoral lease area. The agreement guarantees ongoing employment and training for local Indigenous youth and will see the G’day Group purchase carbon credits from WAC that will enable the property to operate with net zero emissions.

For further information on El Questro Homestead, visit.

Read the G’day Group Media Release here.


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