The State Government has given back 50,000ha of East Kimberley land to the Miriuwung Gajerrong people, the largest land handback ever to take place in Western Australia.
The land parcel, known as Yardungarrl, is located on the WA/Northern Territory border and is home to eight Aboriginal communities.
Attending a ceremony today, Deputy Premier Eric Ripper said the Yardungarrl handback held special significance for the Miriuwung Gajerrong people.
“This is a very important area of land, one that the State Government has long recognised as having both traditional and emotional significance for the Miriuwung Gajerrong people,” he said.
“In the late 1960’s, a lot of surrounding land was flooded when the Argyle Dam was built.
“Many Miriuwung Gajerrong people lost their homes, traditional hunting grounds and sites of significance.
“But Yardungarrl remained an area where they could maintain their culture and communities.
“This freehold grant will not wipe out the past, but it will mean that the Miriuwung Gajerrong people have control over their future.”
The handover of Yardungarrl is part of the $56million Ord Final Agreement between the State Government and the Miriuwung Gajerrong people.
The agreement, signed in October 2005, resolves native title and heritage issues over 65,000ha of East Kimberley land, paving the way for the expansion of the Ord irrigation project and other agricultural, commercial and residential developments.
It also includes the transfer of land valued at about $15million to the Miriuwung Gajerrong people over the next 10 years.
Deputy Premier's office - 9222 8788