SEKISUI - HAND THE YAROOMBA LAND BACK
"In Yaroomba we stand, we walk,
we meet at the beach, we dwell,
and we do all of these things on
the Land of the Kabi Kabi People."
In offering the following opinion, and it is one of many opinions on the issue of the Sekisui Development Application (DA), we do so with respect for the Traditional Owners of this Yaroomba land.
The First Nations People of Australia are the oldest contiguous culture on our planet, and the Kabi Kabi People represent the living presence of the lore and law of that culture right here where we all live, right here in Yaroomba Beach.
Parts of the recent Uluru Statement From The Heart read very powerfully from a non-indigenous perspective. Those parts re-affirm Indigenous spiritual connection to land and nature, and explain how Indigenous people possessed this Continent under their own laws and customs before the arrival of Europeans.
“Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty.”
The Yaroomba Beach Sekisui development site has many hectares of vacant land which are currently tied up in a Development Application (DA) proposal to Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Eventually there will be a public consultation process and Council will ultimately vote to accept or reject the proposal and so decide the fate of that land.
Under non-indigenous Australian law Sekisui has the right to make such a proposal, Council has the right to assess that proposal, and the local Yaroomba/Coolum Community, in their droves, has every right to stand firm and oppose that inappropriate development application.
But there are another set of Laws pertaining to that largely vacant Sekisui owned plot of land at Yaroomba aren’t there? There are another group of people, First Nations’ people, who also just happen to have the right of vacant possession under their own laws and customs don’t they?
Modern Australian law is a very nimble thing and it generally precludes First Nations’ People from submitting any sort of Native Title Claim over freehold land.
Because of all that the Kabi Kabi First Nation’s Native Title Claim QC2013/003, which covers a reasonably large area and includes Yaroomba, seeks to have some rights recognised but does not seek to throw any of us out into the street. The Claim does not seek to wind the clock back. The Native Titles Act ensures that, except in exceptional cases, freehold land remains immune from claim.
Which brings us back to the Sekisui Development site at Yaroomba. The land is just sitting there patiently waiting for a bureaucratic planning mill to go through certain motions, make certain decisions, and ultimately say yay or nay to the erection of multiple high-rise apartment blocks upon that beautiful largely vacant land.
And that, in turn, brings us back to that Uluru notion of a sovereignty that was never ceded or extinguished.
From Ninderry through to Mt. Coolum and surrounds, including Yaroomba Beach, our region is replete with an Indigenous spirituality that cannot be extinguished by something as prosaic, and as ephemeral, as a Planning Act, or a Developer’s wishes.
We feel uncomfortable with the notion that this land, this land currently owned by Sekisui, and all of the living things and the Indigenous history and spirituality that it contains, is seen as no more than an exploitable product by wealthy people seeking to increase their own wealth even further. Such a disrespect of this specific area of land borders on the obscene.
This particular plot of land has endured a chequered history of being horse-traded, bequeathed, sold and re-sold, and has generally been treated as a plaything of one too many groups simply seeking to just profit from it. It is nothing short of amazing that this land has survived all that and largely remains intact and vacant.
The Kabi Kabi Native Title Claim is very respectful of all of our rights under the law, the Kabi Kabi People are treating all of us with respect, and we believe that now is the time to return that respect in full measure.
We believe that this Yaroomba land represents one of those rare exceptions allowed under the Native Titles Act. Returning it will not place any of the rest of us, or our property, at risk.
Sekisui is a very large and wealthy firm, the return of this land to the Traditional Owners would not be too hurtful financially for Sekisui, if indeed it would be at all. It would also allow the Developer to exit Yaroomba with some grace and dignity.
This Yaroomba land, this exceptional Yaroomba block of land, should be returned by Sekisui on our behalf to the Traditional Owners so that they can exercise their own historical rights and interests over it.
The Traditional Owners are the appropriate custodians, they will nurture and preserve this land for all of us in perpetuity.
The Save Yaroomba Group (as a sub committee of Friends of Yaroomba Inc) is dedicated to the preservation of social amenity in the Yaroomba Village area. We are not opposed to appropriate development or economic growth across the Sunshine Coast region or the Yaroomba Beach precinct. We are opposed to the Sekisui Yaroomba Beach development because it does not conform to the reasonable restraints contained in the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014. The Sekisui DA will greatly affect the social environment for all residents in the Yaroomba Beach Community, and our aim is to ensure that the Sekisui Yaroomba proposal fully adheres to the height and density requirements stipulated for the Yaroomba Beach district in the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014. We welcome appropriate development to Yaroomba Beach, but we will strenuously oppose the current form of the Sekisui Yaroomba Beach proposal. If you would like to support our cause to save the Yaroomba Beach Community from this inappropriate Sekisui Yaroomba development, you are welcome to either donate via the facility on this website, or join our email list to receive updates.