JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH SENATOR JOANNA LINDGREN, SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
Today at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park we joined with more than 100 people, men, women and children of all ages, to commemorate one of the most defining moments for all Australians and a key milestone for Indigenous land rights.
On 26 October 1985 the Australian Government handed back Uluru and Kata Tjuta to their traditional owners, known as Anangu. This year is the 30th anniversary of what has become known locally as ‘handback’.
Australian Olympian and champion marathon runner Robert De Castella AO MBE and his team from the Indigenous Marathon Project worked with traditional owners and others to set up a 10-kilometre relay run around the rock to remember this significant moment.
It was an honour to be there, running alongside community members, Olympians and Parliamentary colleagues from both sides of politics, to help hand a baton of health and hope on to a new generation.
It was a privilege to take part in the relay with our parliamentary colleagues Senator Nova Peris and Stephen Jones MP.
After the original handback, Anangu decided to lease the park back to the Director of National Parks to be jointly managed by traditional owners and the Commonwealth Government. Today a Board of a majority of traditional owners oversees decision-making in the park, incorporating Anangu land management techniques alongside western science.
It is heartening to see culture and country at the heart of the park’s management.
The Indigenous Marathon Project, founded by De Castella, launched the Deadly Fun Run series in 2012. A series of community-based running and walking events and training takes place across Australia’s Indigenous communities.
Four champions are selected annually from each of the communities involved to represent their people at the National Deadly Fun Run Championships held annually at Uluru.
A total of 80 Indigenous people participated in the 2015 Championships.
Each year the Indigenous Marathon Project also selects a squad of 12 Indigenous Australian men and women to train for the world-famous New York City marathon.