- Premier and representatives of the SWALSC execute historic Indigenous Land Use Agreements
- Agreement follows acceptance by six claim groups of State Government's offer to settle land claims over the South-West
- Premier congratulates Noongar people and SWALSC
Premier Colin Barnett and five ministers today signed six historic Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) covering 200,000 square kilometers of the South-West of Western Australia.
The six ILUAs were authorised by a majority of the members of each of the principle Noongar native title claim groups at meetings in February and March this year. Since then each ILUA has been executed by a majority of the senior Noongar people who were named on the original claims. The oldest claim was filed in 1996.
The ILUAs executed by the Premier and ministers Redman, Marmion, Jacob, Davies and Collier, will now be filed with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) which will determine whether the agreements can be registered.
Mr Barnett said the execution of the ILUAs was a significant step on the path towards the largest native title settlement in Australian history, resolving all native title claims in the South-West in exchange for approximately $1.3 billion in land and other benefits.
The Premier congratulated the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) for working with the State Government to arrive at the terms of the settlement and for guiding the offer through the complex process of native title authorisation meetings.
"The process of considering and accepting the State Government's offer has involved a great deal of work and involved many people who have had to carefully consider the offer before voting to accept it. I am very grateful to the Noongar people for the time and thought that has gone into this process," he said.
"The signing of these land use agreements today represents the next step in an extraordinary act of self-determination by Aboriginal people and provides them with a real opportunity for independence. It also means the State and Noongar people must work towards a new level of partnership and shared responsibilities."
The native title claims are Whadjuk (covering Perth metropolitan), the 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).
Under the overall agreement, an independent Noongar Boodja Trust will be established into which assets will be transferred over 12 years. This includes funding of $50 million per annum for 12 years. Up to 320,000 hectares of Crown land will also be transferred to the trust. A key part of the agreement is that in the next year, State Parliament will be asked to pass the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Bill which recognises the Noongar people as traditional owners of the South-West and acknowledges their unique contribution 'to the heritage, cultural identity and economy of the State'.
The NNTT will undertake a notification period during which objections can be lodged according to the terms of the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. The ILUAs can only come into effect once they have been registered by the tribunal.
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.
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
Premier's office - 6552 5000