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Agreements facilitating land use and/or access to land by government agencies and other interested parties can be negotiated with the relevant Aboriginal groups under the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) (Cth) for example agreements under the NTA right to negotiate or by provisions in Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

Agreements under the Right to Negotiate

The majority of land use agreements in Western Australia are made under the right to negotiate (the RTN). Where the RTN applies, registered native title applicants can negotiate over proposed future acts, such as the granting of a mining lease or the compulsory acquisition of native title rights and interest.

Agreements reached under the RTN usually provide for the following:

  • access to the area covered by the Agreement; and
  • a heritage protection regime

An RTN agreement may also proved for compensation for the loss or impairment of the native title rights and interests.

An RTN agreement is contractually binding for all parties involved in the negotiation.

Example of agreements made under the right to negotiate provisions include;

  • The Burrup and Maitland Estate Agreement (the Burrup Agreement);
  • The Browse Agreement; and
  • The Yawuru Agreements.

Indigenous Land Use Agreements

An Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) is a voluntary agreement between Aboriginal groups and others about the use and management of land and waters.

An ILUA is much more flexible than an RTN agreement and may include a broader range of interests. For example and ILUA:

  • can address past and intermediate acts as well as future acts. It may also replace the future act process entirely.

  • may address issues of access to land, compensation for the loss or impairment of the native title rights and interests, extinguishment and the coexistence of native title and interest and other interests.

  • may be made separately from the formal native title process, form a part of that process or pave the way for a native title determination.

  • does not extinguish native title but may, by agreement, allow for the surrender of native title

In WA over 135 ILUA's have been registered, with the National Native Title Tribunal.

Examples of significant ILUAs that have been negotiated by the Western Australian government include:

  • The Ord Final ILUA;
  • The Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory ILUA; and
  • The Esperance Nyungar ILUA.

For a list of the other registered ILUAs in WA, search the National Native Title Tribunal's Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

For further information about ILUAs read the Guide to the Government Indigenous Land Use Agreement and Standard Heritage Agreements - October 2014 - Version 1.3 (PDF 88 KB) .


Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.