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South West Native Title Settlement

The South West Settlement (SWS) is the most wide-ranging native title proposal since the 1992 High Court Mabo decision. The WA Government and Noongar representatives have been negotiating since 2009 and the WA Government’s offer, which has now been considered and accepted by all six Noongar claim groups, will provide the Noongar people with long-term benefits. Learn more about the benefits of the Settlement.

The SWS package will provide an opportunity for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar community to improve economic, social and cultural development of the Noongar community. In addition the South West Settlement will deliver long term cost benefits to the WA Government and land users through the surrender of native title rights and interests and the the removal of all 'future act' obligations. 

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 Final Settlement Package - Benefits 

The WA Government’s proposed settlement package includes:

  • Recognition through an Act of Parliament - recognising the Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the South West through the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future)Recognition Bill;
  • Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) - the establishment of a perpetual trust into which the WA Government would make funding instalments of $50 million yearly for 12 years. A professional Trustee will be appointed and will manage the Government’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 (DoL), are subject to statutory clearances and consultation with any affected WA Government 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 DPAW 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 Department of Aboriginal Affairs 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. An agreed key deliverable is intensive capacity building in year one of the implementation of the Settlement, and ongoing support thereafter, in government tendering and contracting policies as well as the development and submission of tender documentation;
  • Community Development Framework - with the establishment of six Noongar Regional Corporations in different parts of the South West, one key objective is to provide WA Government human service agencies with greater scope for direct communication with the Noongar community. Initially the main interface will be via the Regional Managers Forums which already involve the Departments of Health, Education, Child Support and Family Support, local and regional government representatives, and other government and non-government interest holders.  A number of priorities have been identified, with improved Noongar health and youth outcomes being one of those priorities;
  • 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. This commitment will extend to fitting out or leasing of existing buildings for the administrative purposes of each corporation across the South West including two properties in the Metropolitan Area. Noongar Cultural Centre: The Settlement includes $5 million indexed for two years to support the development and construction of a Noongar Cultural Centre. This funding is contingent on the Noongar community obtaining the remaining funding from other sources (i.e. Commonwealth and private sector), as well as demonstration of a financially viable Cultural Centre management plan. Up to two hectares of Crown land is also to be provided in the Metropolitan Area as part of the WA Government's offer;
  • Land Fund - A WA Government-managed Land Fund will be established to achieve objectives related to land management, Noongar land ownership and Aboriginal heritage protection. The Fund will resource programs facilitated by partnerships between State land agencies including DRD, DEC, DAA, DAFWA and the Regional Noongar Corporations but which are beyond the existing remit of mainstream services. These programs will include enhancing Noongar land capacity, Noongar heritage site protection programs, targeted conservation programs, and remediation of certain Crown land parcels included in the land transfer process. The partnerships will also encourage Noongar employment and economic participation within the State’s land agencies.

Further Information


Contact Us

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


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