The issue of Aboriginal identity and putting in place measures for further land returns are looming as the greatest challenges stemming from the release of a report into treaty and truth-telling in Tasmania.
The report by former governor Kate Warner AC and law professor Tim McCormack recommended a government-appointed Truth-Telling Commission be empowered to "deal with the question of Aboriginality".
The commission would be majority-Aboriginal and be chaired or co-chaired by senior members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairperson Michael Mansell said there was no need to rely upon a government-appointed body to determine Aboriginality, as the three-part test of descent, self-identification and community recognition had been in place since the late 1970s.
"Kate Warner and Tim McCormack have the wrong answer. You can't take it out of one government department and hand it to another government instrument, because at the moment the government's view is that if you say you're in, then you're in, and that's not right," he said.
The Aboriginal identity question has been the subject of extensive debate in the community, outlined in the Warner and McCormack report, with changes in eligibility requirements creating fractures between state-based and local organisations.
Since the late 1970s, the three-part test of descent, self-identification and community recognition had been used in Tasmania, including by the electoral commission.
But in 2016, former premier Will Hodgman changed this to only require a declaration of self-identification and a statement of confirmation from an Aboriginal organisation, greatly increasing the number of people who identified as Aboriginal, angering the ALCT.
The Warner and McCormack report described it as a "vexed question", and it could crucial to overcome in order to determine who was eligible to negotiate a treaty with the state government.
The report also detailed the way in which land hand backs had "stalled" since 2005, and made suggestions for a framework for Aboriginal Protected Areas. The eligibility of Aboriginal organisations to manage certain land has been questioned, however.
In a speech during the debate over use of Arthur-Pieman tracks, UTAS historian on North-West Aboriginal heritage Ian McFarlane said there was a lack of evidence that tribes from the takayna/Tarkine had living descendants, and any claim to the area must be rejected as a result.
"Land can only be handed back to someone if they actually owned it in the first place," he said.
"If this is not the case, then we are not talking about an issue of 'traditional ownership' but one of alienating land on the basis of race, a very different situation to that which takes place on the mainland."
Mr Mansell disputed this, and said the father of Fanny Cochrane Smith was from the North-West Coast, meaning her descendants had lineage to the area.
He said it was common practice for the rights of extinct Aboriginal groups to be maintained by other groups.
"This was the case with native title. When one group became wiped out, their rights accrued to Aboriginal people," Mr Mansell said.
"You only have to go back to Friendly Mission and Weep in Silence, and Lyndall Ryan's work, they give instances of where Aboriginal people from the South-West and West Coast joined the Big River tribe and acted in unison as one people."
In the report, 12 areas were raised for potential return to the Aboriginal community, including takayne/Tarkine, Ben Lomond National Park, Little Musselroe Bay, Mersey Bluff and Marshalls Hill.
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