Premier Colin Barnett today thanked the Noongar people and congratulated the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) following their historic decision to accept the State Government's South West Settlement offer.
The offer, which has been considered - and accepted - by all six Noongar claim groups at authorisation meetings held over the past three months, will provide the Noongar people with $1.3 billion in land and other assets and benefits exchange for the surrender of native title claims over 200,000 square kilometres of land in the south-west.
"This is the largest Native Title settlement in Australian history and I am very pleased the Noongar groups have voted to accept it," Mr Barnett said.
"This is an outstanding result for all concerned. The fact that all six Noongar native title groups endorsed the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) - which implement the settlement with the State Government - is a remarkable achievement.
"I would like to thank SWALSC for the tremendous job they have done in negotiating with the Government on the terms of the offer and guiding the offer through the meetings.
"This is an extraordinary act of self-determination by Aboriginal people and provides them with a real opportunity for independence."
The claim groups and towns they include are Whadjuk (Perth Metropolitan), South West Boojarah (Busselton, Pemberton, Nannup) and Harris Family (Yallingup, Margaret River), Ballardong (York, Northam, Hyden, Kondinin), Wagyl Kaip (Katanning, Gnowangerup, Albany), Yued (Jurien, Moora, Lancelin, Gingin) and Gnaala Karla Boodja (Mandurah, Bunbury, Donnybrook).
The Premier said under the terms of the settlement, a Noongar Boodja Trust would be established into which $1.3 billion would be transferred over 12 years, including annual funding instalments of $50 million for 12 years, to support Noongar economic and cultural development. Up to 320,000 hectares of Crown land would also be transferred to the trust for cultural and economic development.
"One of the most significant aspects of the settlement will be the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Bill 2014 which recognises the Noongar people as traditional owners and acknowledges their unique contribution "˜to the heritage, cultural identity and economy of the State," he said.
"This is a break-though agreement, a historic achievement in reconciliation."
The six ILUAs will now be executed by the State Government in June 2015 and filed with the National Native Title Tribunal. This will trigger a notification period during which objections can be lodged. Objections will be dealt with according to the Federal Native Title Act 1993.
Mr Barnett said while there were still legal procedures to be completed, he was optimistic they would be resolved and the full agreement could start to be implemented by mid-2016.
"I acknowledge there are Noongar people who have not accepted the agreement but I want to assure them this settlement will not affect their status as the Traditional Owners of the south-west, it simply means they exchange their native title claims for new and certain rights over land and a big investment in their future," he said.
The Premier said the South West Settlement would also deliver greater certainty over land management to business and local government in the south-west.
On July 5, 2013, the State Government presented a final offer to the SWALSC
The Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Bill 2014 was tabled in State Parliament on February 26, 2014 with bipartisan support
In November 2014 the fully negotiated agreement to be considered in the South West Settlement was released
Premier's office - 6552 5000