Confidence on Bay of Fires claim

THE Aboriginal community remains confident it can win the handover of land at the Bay of Fires.

The community will stake its claim on the area in the coming months and Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre secretary Nala Mansell-McKenna said the community would have a constant presence at the Bay of Fires.

"Each time we have maintained a constant presence in the past, we have seen the land returned," she said.

Members of the Aboriginal community have been calling for its handover since October to protect its natural values and prevent it from being run down by a tourist influx.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal director Michael Mansell reminded the State Government earlier this year of an in-principle decision by the Bacon Government in 1999 to transfer the Bay of Fires to the community. He said the promise seemed to have been lost in the transition of premiers.

"They haven't talked to us at all about it," Mr Mansell said. "The land council met with the Premier back in April and raised the issue of the Bay of Fires and it was just fobbed off."

Tourism East Tasmania president Peter Paulsen said the last thing that the region needed was an adverse impact from visitation.

"We need to be able to take advantage of what we have in front of us so visitors can come to the area and enjoy it, and at the same time maintain the integrity of the region," he said.

"But I don't know how handing back land to the Aborigines is going to achieve that outcome."

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