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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
The ILUAs are currently lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to be entered onto the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements. The Native Title Registrar must now make a decision on whether or not to register the six (6) Agreements. The Native Title Registrar must first consider any objections from Noongar People to the registration of the ILUAs.
SWALSC anticipates that a decision on whether or not to register the ILUAs will be made soon and SWALSC will keep the Noongar Community updated when further information becomes available.
In the meantime, SWALSC will continue to progress with the Settlement by setting up the Regional Corporations for each ILUA area. SWALSC will be holding Agreement Group Town Information Sessions in all of the ILUA areas over coming months. For more information, please click on your Area to find out when the next meeting is going to be held near you.
The button below will take you to the formal documents that comprise the Settlement.