- Historic Indigenous Land Use Agreement signed with Yamatji native title community
- Package valued at $442 million plus approximately 100,000ha of land
- Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt joins representatives of Yamatji people to sign agreement
- Agreement includes recognition of native title over parcels of land in the State's Mid-West
- Significant package of benefits to deliver social and economic development and self-determination for Yamatji people
The McGowan Government has today executed a unique Indigenous Land Use Agreement that injects almost half a billion dollars over several years into the Yamatji native title community in the State's Mid-West.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt attended a ceremony in Geraldton today to sign the Agreement on behalf of the State Government.
The Agreement resolves the State Government's native title compensation liability in relation to 48,000 square kilometres of land in and around Geraldton.
It provides the Yamatji Nation with a $442 million package of benefits, plus approximately 100,000ha of land, that will ensure sustainable social and economic development and self-determination for current and future generations.
The innovative package includes funding for business development, the transfer of commercial land, joint ventures, tourism opportunities and access to housing properties for sale, leasing or development.
Additionally, there are revenue streams from mining, and from leasing or sale of land in the Oakajee Industrial Estate, as well as a Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve for use or trade.
Acknowledging the importance of land to the Yamatji people, the benefits package also includes the recognition of native title over select parcels of land, the creation of a conservation estate, joint vesting and joint management opportunities and the handback of approximately 15,000ha of land in freehold or conditional freehold.
The signing ceremony was preceded by a consent determination of native title, recognising the non-exclusive possession native title rights and interests of the Yamatji Nation over portions of the former Barnong, Menai Hills and Kadji Kadji pastoral leases, parcels of land near the Wandana Nature Reserve, as well as Lucky Bay and eight Aboriginal Lands Trust properties.
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"I congratulate the Yamatji people - Western Australia's newest native title holders.
"This package represents the foundation for economic growth and independence for the Yamatji people for today, and into the future.
"It includes a unique mix of economic development opportunities never before seen in a native title agreement. The benefits are not limited to the native title parties. Industry will also benefit from the removal of all future act processes in the Agreement area.
"The Yamatji Nation native title agreement is a great demonstration of what a treaty looks like. Yamatji and Noongar people are at the forefront of treaty negotiations in Australia and will be long remembered as pioneers in this field.
"The Yamatji agreement highlights the McGowan Government's national leadership in negotiating a new relationship between First Nation Peoples and Settler Australia.
"I would like to acknowledge the manner in which Yamatji leaders negotiated this deal. They were rigorous, professional at all times and extraordinarily efficient in negotiating this wide ranging agreement which will benefit not just Yamatji people but the whole Geraldton and Mid-West community.
"The McGowan Government looks forward to working in partnership with the Yamatji people over the coming years."
Minister's office - 6552 5900