Addressing Baseless Claims

Geelong Advertiser story on the Cape Otway Lighstation Irks Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation

A Statement from Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation

For maximum impact and to pique community interest, the headline story emblazoned on the front page of last Friday’s edition (18/3/2022) of the Geelong Advertiser read as ‘Passing the Torch Cape Otway Lighthouse gifted to Indigenous organisation’.

Reading the substance of the story it became apparent the central point was the Cape Otway Lightstation was being swiftly handed over to Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) in the lead up to the State Government’s Treaty negotiations – an incorrect narrative.

The present concern EMAC has is that the general public is being provided incorrect information that is presented as absolutely accurate. Given this, one must ask how such an unverified story was able to be published?

The TRUTH is that the Cape Otway Lightstation is not being handed over to Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation in the lead up to the State Government’s Treaty negotiations. This was made clear (And easily verifiable by a quick search of the internet) via a media release issued by the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority (GORCaPA) on 15 March 2022 detailing that ‘The current operator’s lease with Parks Victoria ends on 30 June 2022’.

Linked here:

GORCaPA and Parks Victoria are now entering formal negotiations for GORCaPA to take up a new lease and run the precinct from 1 July, ahead of a future land transfer (between the agencies from Parks Victoria to the GORCaPA; emphasis added that EMAC is not the recipient of any land transfer).

In the same media release, GORCaPA and Parks Victoria committed to working with the current operator to ensure the handover of the lease occurs with minimal disruption to the Lightstation and its staff, and ensure it continues to provide an enjoyable visitor experience throughout the transition.

Furthermore, and again this is easily verifiable from a quick search on the internet, the central instrument of the Treaty Negotiation Framework sets out:

– the process and minimum standards for negotiating a treaty or treaties, including setting out the matters (if any) that cannot or must not be agreed to in the course of treaty negotiations;

– the process and mechanisms for enforcing a treaty or treaties and formalising agreement to a treaty or treaties including reporting requirements;

– the process for the resolution of disputes arising in the course of treaty negotiations;

Most importantly, this is still being actively finalised between the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, its members, and the State of Victoria. This means that until this framework is developed NO Treaty negotiations including preliminary negotiations have commenced with the State of Victoria.

In the ever present and increasing proliferation of misinformation and disinformation, EMAC calls on media and members of parliament, who have an ethical obligation with their power and influence, to report on matters and provide information and content accurately and objectively in the public sphere.

Journalists are expected to have a sound understanding on the topics they are reporting on. Henceforth, we call on the Geelong Advertiser to promptly correct the record by prominently publishing a follow-up correction in a forthcoming edition, including to all social media platforms and other avenues the article was published.

EMAC will not be responding to any further media requests regarding these matters.

EMAC is excited about being involved alongside GORCaPA, in shaping and value adding an immersive cultural experience at the iconic Cape Otway Lightstation. We will be keen to share updates about these developments as they take shape in future.

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