The South West Native Title Settlement (the Settlement) is the largest native title settlement in Australian history. The Settlement will affect an estimated 30,000 Noongar People and encompasses approximately 200,000 square kilometres in the South West.
Harry Hobbs and George Williams of the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales have described the Settlement as 'Australia's First Treaty'.
The Settlement will resolve the Noongar native title claims in the South West of Western Australia in exchange for a package of benefits that includes:
Recognition through an Act of Parliament - the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016.
Noongar Boodja Trust - a perpetual trust, receiving yearly instalments of $50 million for 12 years.
Noongar Corporations - the establishment of six Noongar Regional Corporations and one Central Services Corporation, with funding support of $10 million a year for 12 years, and $6.5m to establish the offices.
Noongar Land Estate - up to 320,000 hectares of development and cultural land to be held by the Noongar Boodja Trust.
Co-operative and joint management - of National Parks and the South West Conservation Estate.
Land Access - to certain crown lands for customary activities.
Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement - standard processes for determining when and how to carry out heritage surveys on Noongar Lands.
Noongar Heritage Partnership Agreement - collaboration framework for identifying, recording, protecting and managing Noongar Heritage values and sites.
Noongar Housing Program - transfer and refurbishment of 121 properties to the Noongar Boodja Trust and $10m to develop and refurbish the properties.
Economic and Community Development - through development frameworks to assist Noongar businesses and improve Government service delivery to the Noongar community.
Capital Works Program - funding to contribute to the establishment of a Noongar Cultural Centre and office space for Noongar Corporations.
Noongar Land Fund - up to $46,850,000 over ten years for land-related projects
Noongar Cultural Centre - $5.3m and up to two hectares of land towards the development of a Noongar Cultural Centre.
The Settlement is made up of six (6) individual Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs). Each of the following areas has a corresponding ILUA:
Yued People (Jurien, Moora, Lancelin, Gingin).
Gnaala Karla Boodja (Mandurah, Bunbury, Donnybrook).
South West Boojarah (Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Pemberton, Nannup).
Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar (Katanning, Gnowangerup, Albany).
Ballardong People (York, Northam, Hyden, Kondinin).
Whadjuk People (Perth Metropolitan area).
Authorisation Meetings were held for each of the six ILUA Agreement Areas in early 2015. All six (6) ILUAs were authorised by the native title holders for each area, meaning the Noongar People effectively resolved to enter into the Settlement.
On Wednesday, the 17th of October 2018, the Registrar of the National Native Title Tribunal announced that she had registered all six ILUAs.*
The Registrar spent over a year studying the Agreements and considering objections that were made by people against the ILUAs being registered.
In registering the ILUAs, the Registrar was satisfied that all of the paperwork was in order, and that the conduct of the six Authorisation Meetings met the requirements of the Native Title Act.
This is a great opportunity now for our Noongar people to come together, to control our own destiny, and to build a solid future for generations to come.
The button below will take you to the formal documents that comprise the Settlement.
[* Please note that applications have been made to the Federal Court of Australia for judicial review of the Registrar’s decision. More information can be found in the January 2019 edition of the SWALSC Newsletter.]