- Full Federal Court finds no errors in authorisation of the South West Native Title Settlement
- Major step towards commencement of the Settlement
- Settlement to provide long-term opportunities for the Noongar people
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has welcomed today's decision by the Full Federal Court that found no errors in the Native Title Registrar registering the six South West Native Title Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements in October 2018.
This decision is a major step towards commencement of the South West Native Title Settlement. There is now a 28-day period for any applications for special leave to the High Court to appeal the decision.
The Settlement will establish a strong Noongar governance structure through the creation of Noongar Corporations that represent the interests of the Noongar people.
The State Government and other stakeholders will work in partnership with the Noongar community, through the Noongar Corporations, to realise these goals.
Since the signing of the six Settlement Agreements more than four years ago, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), the State Government and the future Noongar Boodja Trustee have been preparing for the Settlement to commence.
In 2016, the WA Parliament passed the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act, recognising the Noongar people as the traditional owners of the South West, as well as other enabling laws to allow key elements of the Settlement to take effect.
The registration of the Agreements is the final step before the benefits can flow to the Noongar community.
There is still a possibility that some parties may seek special leave to the High Court of Australia to appeal the decision. The Settlement cannot proceed until all Court matters relating to the registration of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements are resolved.
The State Government and the Noongar community, through SWALSC, will continue to work together to ensure the successful implementation of all six Settlement Agreements for all Noongar people and the Western Australian community as a whole.
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"The Noongar community have waited a long time, and have worked incredibly hard to see this landmark Settlement begin.
"For too long lawyers have tried to stymie the historic agreement between the WA Government and the Noongar people.
"I now call on them to stop the ongoing expensive legal indulgence and allow the Agreement to proceed so that the Noongar people of Western Australia can finally access the benefits they have been waiting for so long.
"The Settlement will provide significant long-term opportunities for the Noongar people to achieve long-term, self-determining social, economic and cultural outcomes.
"The State Government urges everyone to now get behind the Settlement to ensure that the flow of benefits can commence as soon as possible."
Minister's office - 6552 5900