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 range 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.
The Settlement will provide the Noongar people with long-term benefits and opportunities for developing Noongar interests. It 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.
The full details of the South West Native Title Settlement (Settlement) is recorded in six Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) made in compliance with the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 with the Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups.
The Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups are:
Yued (Jurien, Moora, Lancelin, Gingin)
Gnaala Karla Booja (Mandurah, Bunbury, Donnybrook)
South West Boojarah (Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Pemberton, Nannup)
Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar (Katanning, Gnowangerup, Albany)
Ballardong (York, Northam, Hyden, Kondinin)
Whadjuk (Perth Metropolitan area)
Are you looking for maps and boundary descriptions for the various Settlement Agreements? Find maps in the Settlement Publications section.
Status of the Settlement
In early 2015 all 6 Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups met and voted in the majority to authorise the Indigenous Land Use Agreements. On the 8 June 2015 the Government of Western Australia signed (executed) the 6 Settlement Agreements (drafted as Indigenous Land Use Agreements) with the Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups. The signing of the Agreements does not signal the commencement of the Settlement as the Settlement will only commence once the Agreements are conclusively registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements. Learn more about the ILUA registration process.
The National Native Title Tribunal Registrar’s decision to register the Agreements has been delayed by the 2 February 2017 Federal Court judgment, known as the McGlade decision. Learn more about the McGlade decision. In response to the Federal Court judgment the Australian Commonwealth Government introduced the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017.
On 22 June 2017 the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Act 2017 came into force. The Act amends the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 and removes uncertainty around the validity of registered Indigenous Land Use Agreements, specifically, Area ILUAs, following the McGlade Judgment.
The Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Act 2017:
confirms the validity of Area ILUAs currently on the Register; and
provides clarity around the signing of ILUAs, including the ability for an ILUA to be valid where the majority of the registered native title applicants have signed.
Importantly the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Act 2017 confirms that the 4 ILUAs, the subject of the McGlade judgment, are valid ILUAs and can be considered for registration.
South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council
The Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups, facilitated by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) are currently working towards the transparent and accountable establishment of the Noongar Corporations. SWALSC’s role and functions remains largely the same for now but also include a broader scope to take into account the preparatory work required for the implementation of the Settlement. Other key areas for SWALSC are the operation of the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreements and the identification of potential land for the future Noongar Land Estate. The network of Native Title Service Providers and Native Title Representative Bodies is supported financially by the Australian Government. See the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for more information about funding arrangements for these and other Indigenous bodies.
Settlement Commitment and Milestones
The WA Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, representing the Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups, remain committed to implementing the Settlement as soon as possible. Most components of the Settlement can only commence once the ILUAs are conclusively registered however the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreements has been in operation since June 2015.
Significant work has commenced on many aspects of the Settlement including the fulfilment of a number of important milestones:
See also the release of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council's Transition Programs:
Application of the Native Title Act (Cth) and Aboriginal Heritage Act (WA)
Until the Settlement commences the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) still applies to all land users planning activities in the Agreement Area. WA Government agencies and officers planning activities that may affect native title rights and interests, in the ILUA Area, prior to the commencement of the Settlement should contact the South West Settlement Implementation Unit.
Within the Agreement Area the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA) applies at all times regardless of the commencement of the Settlement. If a proposed activity (planned land use) may affect Aboriginal heritage you should contact the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in the first instance. You may also be interested to learn more about the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement and the Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines.