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South West Native Title Settlement (Noongar Settlement)

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The South West Native Title Settlement (the Settlement) is the most comprehensive native title agreement proposed in Australian history, comprising the full and final resolution of all native title claims in the South West of Western Australia, in exchange for a package of benefits. The historic agreement involves around 30,000 Noongar people and covers approximately 200,000 square kilometres. The Settlement represents a significant investment in both the Noongar community and the shared future of the Western Australian community as a whole.

Read the South West Native Title Settlement - Fact-Sheets - December 2015 (DOC 888 Kb) or (PDF 431Kb)

 

The WA Government and Noongar representatives have been negotiating since 2009 and the WA Government's offer, has now been considered and authorised by all six Noongar claim groups.  Read the media release: Noongars vote to accept historic offer.

The Noongar Claim Groups are:

  • 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)

Visit the Settlement Publications page for copies of the ILUA Maps and Boundary Descriptions relating to the 6 Noongar Claim Groups.

The Settlement will provide the Noongar people with long-term benefits and opportunities for developing Noongar interests.  The Settlement will also provide an opportunity for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar people to improve economic, social and cultural outcomes for the Noongar community. In addition the Settlement will deliver long term cost benefits to the WA Government and land users through the resolution of native title and the removal of all 'future act' obligations across the south west.

Learn more about the Settlement Package.

 

Status of the Settlement

The 6 Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) were executed on the 8 June 2015 by the WA Government.  The ILUAs have been signed by all parties and submitted to the National Native Title Tribunal for 'registration' by the Native Title Registrar.  Learn more about  ILUAs and the registration process.

The execution of the ILUAs does not signal the commencement of the South West Native Title Settlement as registration and other matters must first be completed. However the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement came into operation on the ILUA execution date (8 June 2016).

Registration of the ILUAs and Commencement of the Settlement

On 16 December 2015 the three month notification period ended and the Registrar of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) subsequently confirmed a total of 107 valid objections, across the 6 ILUA areas, from a total of 25 objectors.  The South West Native Title Settlement will only commence once all of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) are registered on the 'Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements' and any legal proceedings relating to registration are concluded. 

Separate from the objections to the ILUAs, four High Court applications have commenced against the Native Title Registrar and the parties to four of the ILUAs, including the State and South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC).  The High Court applications seek to prevent the Native Title Registrar from registering the Whadjuk People ILUA, the Ballardong People ILUA, the South West Boojarah #2 ILUA and Wagyl Kaip & Southern Noongar ILUA on the basis that not all of the registered native title claimants were parties to these ILUAs.  These matters have now been remitted to the Federal Court.

Whilst it is difficult to predict how long resolution of the legal matters related to ILUA registration may take, at this stage the expected best case scenario is that the Settlement will commence at the end of 2016 with the establishment of the Noongar Boodja Trust around December 2016 and the appointment of the Noongar Regional Corporations early in 2017. 

Notwithstanding the delay, the WA Government and SWALSC, on behalf of the Noongar Claim Groups, remain fully committed to the South West Native Title Settlement and are continuing to work together to prepare for the commencement of the Settlement.

Timeline

Date ​Event
8 ​June 2015

​Execution of the ILUAs.

Commencement of the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement.

​July 2015

​SWALSC commenced work toward establishing the Noongar Corporations and work commenced towards selection of the Noongar Boodja Trustee. 

​16 September 2015 - 16 December 2015

​Registration process for the six authorised ILUAs commenced, with a three month notification period during which objections can be lodged.  The notification period ended on 16 December 2015.

​October 2015

​The Noongar Recognition Bill was introduced to the Parliament of Western Australia.

​November 2015

​The Land Administration (South West Native Title Settlement) Bill 2015 was introduced to the Parliament of Western Australia.

​​December 2015 - onwards

​The Native Title Registrar commences consideration of the 107 valid objections to the registration of the ILUAs.

​December 2015

​Four applications commenced in the High Court seeking to prevent registration of four of the ILUAs.

​May 2016

Noongar Boodja Trustee to be selected (Trustee cannot be formally appointed  until after the ILUAs are registered))

Late 2016

Earliest possible commencement of South West Native Title Settlement with the establishment of the Noongar Boodja Trust in December 2016 and the subsequent appointment of the six Noongar Regional Corporations in early 2017.