Lismore City councillors have agreed to hand over council-owned land on the North Lismore plateau to its traditional owners.
Mayor Vanessa Ekins moved the motion to transfer the 37 hectares, which was supported by the majority of her fellow councillors.
The land is valued at $5 million and includes an area of environmental conservation and an old quarry site.
“Handing the land back is a small but significant act delivering just outcomes to traditional custodians by returning country to their care and control,” Ms Ekins said.
Traditional owner Mindy Woods said the parcel of land contained six significant cultural sites.
“It’s a really sacred site for the Widjabul-Wyabul people, the place of the sleeping lizard.
“It’s part of our dreaming and a totem for Lismore,” she said.
Traditional owner Mickey Ryan spoke at the council meeting about the opportunity this created to unite the community.
“It’s a very big step for justice,” he said.
The Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, questioned Lismore council’s intentions in “giving away” the asset at a time when the council is under significant financial stress.
“When you are $60 million in debt, to give away a $5 million asset that ratepayers own, and at the same time take away potentially 100 homes that could be built in this region — .I don’t think it’s a good decision,” he said.