The South West Native Title Settlement
On the 5th of July 2013 the Western Australian Government (WA Government) presented the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) with a final offer to resolve native title claims across the South West of Western Australia. SWALSC is the endorsed representative body under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwth) (NTA) who represent these six native title groups (native title claimants).
The principle Noongar native title groups are the:
- Yued (Jurien, Moora, Lancelin, Gingin)
- Gnaala Karla Boodja (Mandurah, Bunbury, Donnybrook)
- South West Boojarah (Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Pemberton, Nannup)
- Wagyl Kaip (Katanning, Gnowangerup, Albany)
- Ballardong (York, Northam, Hyden, Kondinin)
- Whadjuk (Perth Metropolitan area)
The WA Government and Noongar representatives have been negotiating since 2009 and the 2013 final offer is the most comprehensive native title proposal since the 1992 High Court Mabo decision. Read the media release Noongar People Recognised in Historic offer.
The WA Government’s Offer
The WA Government’s final offer includes:
- Recognition through an Act of Parliament - recognising the Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the South West through the Noongar (Koorah, Yeye, Boordah) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Bill 2014;
- Noongar Boodja Trust - the establishment of a perpetual trust into which the State would make funding instalments of $50 million yearly for 12 years. A professional Trustee will be appointed and will manage the State’s financial contribution and the Noongar Land Estate;
- Noongar Regional Corporations - the establishment of six Noongar Regional Corporations and one Central Services Corporation, with funding support of $10 million yearly for 12 years. The Regional Corporations are established and maintained principally for the purposes of benefiting, advancing and promoting the Agreement Groups and their communities within the Region and managing and caring for the Cultural Land in the Region;
- Noongar Land Estate - The creation of a Noongar Land Estate through the transfer of a maximum of 320,000 hectares of Crown land into the Noongar Boodja Trust over five years (a maximum of 300,000 hectares as reserve land and a maximum of 20,000 hectares as freehold title). All transfers, coordinated by the Department of Lands, are subject to statutory clearances and consultation with any affected State or local government interest;
- Joint Management of the South West Conservation Estate - the establishment of joint management arrangements across the State’s South West Conservation Estate between the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Noongar community. Joint management plans will be initially developed for select parks with an option for joint management to extend to other areas of the Conservation Estate;
- Land and Water Access - Regional Corporation Land Access Licence allowing access to Crown land for customary purposes and inclusions in the Metropolitan Water Supply Sewerage and
Drainage Amendments By-Laws 2014, and the Country Areas Water Supply Amendments By-Laws 2014 regarding Noongar customary activities in public drinking water source areas.
- Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement – improved processes for the preservation of heritage and a standard Noongar heritage agreement applying to land development and related activities;
- Noongar Heritage Partnership Agreement - provides a framework through which the DAA and the Regional Corporation can work in partnership in the areas of identifying, recording, protecting and managing Noongar Heritage values and sites within the agreement area;
- Noongar Housing Program – transfer and refurbishment of 121 properties to the NBT by the Department of Housing;
- Noongar Economic Participation Framework - A Noongar Economic Participation Steering Group will be established with the goal to improve economic participation outcomes for Noongar people in the South West;
- Community Development Framework - with the establishment of six Noongar Regional Corporations in different parts of the South West, one key objective is to provide State Government human service agencies with greater scope for direct communication with the Noongar community;
- Capital Works Program – Office Accommodation: The State has committed $6.5 million indexed for 2 years to establish offices for the Central Services Corporation and six Regional Corporations. Noongar Cultural Centre: The Settlement includes $5 million indexed for two years to support the development and construction of a Noongar Cultural Centre.
October 2014 Update
October marked a very significant month for the South West Settlement. On Wednesday 8 October, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) confirmed that all documents that comprise the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the WA Government had been agreed to in-principle, five years after negotiations commenced.
The State’s final offer is now ready to be considered by the Noongar community in total. The 6 native title claim groups will have an opportunity to decide if they wish to finalise an agreement with the WA Government at meetings held across the South West from 31 January to 28 March 2015 as prescribed by the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). If an agreement is not reached the native title claims will ultimately be referred to trial before the Federal Court.
If the ILUAs are authorised they will then need to be registered with the National Native title Tribunal (NNTT). This will trigger a 1-3 month notification period during which objections can be lodged.
ILUA – Agreed In-Principle
The SWALSC and State Government have ‘agreed in principle’ the following ILUA.
Agreed in Principle South West ILUA (PDF 9.03 MB)
The Noongar community will have an opportunity to vote on the following 6 specific claim area ILUAs at authorisation meetings early next year:
- Yued ILUA
- Gnaala Karla Boodja ILUA
- South West Boojarah and Harris Family ILUA
- Wagyl Kaip ILUA
- Ballardong ILUA
- Whadjuk ILUA
To learn more about the Settlement please read:
Any questions please contact the South West Settlement team:
Postal Address: Land, Approvals and Native Title Unit, Locked Bag 3001, West Perth WA 6872
Phone: (08) 6552 6191
Fax: (08) 6552 5339
Map of the South West Settlement - Native Title Applications
View a high resolution version of the South West Settlement Map (JPG)