Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    Kimberley land transfer creates new reserve for traditional owners

    31/01/2021 10:00 AM
    • Minister approves divestment of Aboriginal Lands Trust estate land in Kununurra to Miriuwung Gajerrong people
    • Three land parcels will create new reserve managed by traditional owners
    • Ongoing divestment of Aboriginal Lands Trust estate secures long-term benefits for Aboriginal people

    Lands and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has approved the transfer of 107 hectares of land in Kununurra, subject to the negotiation of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement, to support new social and economic opportunities for the Miriuwung Gajerrong people.


    The Minister was in Kununurra today to confirm the approval and meet with traditional owners to discuss future land use opportunities.


    The intended transfer will create a reserve by amalgamating three lots of land, totalling 107 hectares, including one parcel of Aboriginal Lands Trust estate, located on Weaber Plains Road.


    The proposed divestment returns management for a protected cultural heritage site to the Miriuwung and Gajerrong people and includes a $200,000 grant for fencing to be installed to prevent unauthorised public access.


    MG Dawang Land Pty Ltd will manage the new reserve as trustee for MG Dawang Land Trust.


    MG Corporation will work with traditional owners to protect sacred sites on the reserve and create opportunities on the remaining land to provide direct employment and economic benefits for the Miriuwung and Gajerrong people.


    The existing Mirima community, located south of the proposed new reserve, does not form part of this agreement.


    The Aboriginal Lands Trust covers some 23 million hectares or 8.7 per cent of State land.  


    The Aboriginal Lands Trust has been charged with reforming land tenure and divestment of the estate to support the long-term aspirations of native title holders and Aboriginal residents.


    Since 2017, 48 properties have been approved for divestment from the Aboriginal Lands Trust estate to Aboriginal people, of which six have formally been transferred.


    This opens new opportunities for Aboriginal people by returning management of land to traditional owners. Negotiations are currently underway on a further 150 properties under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Divestment Program.


    Comments attributed to Lands and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:


    "The McGowan Government is committed to the social and economic development of Aboriginal communities.


    "We have worked to divest land within the Aboriginal Lands Trust estate, to provide land to Aboriginal Corporations to support economic activity and secure improved social outcomes for Aboriginal people.


    "I congratulate the Miriuwung Gajerrong people for identifying this innovative land tenure proposal that will secure economic development opportunities while also protecting their sacred cultural heritage.


    "This approval follows the successful transfer of sole management of 125,000 hectares of land under the Ord Final Agreement last year.


    "It is yet another great example of Aboriginal people identifying and negotiating opportunities that reinforce their native title rights and present new ventures for their community."


    Comment attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:


    "This is a fantastic outcome for the Miriuwung Gajerrong people.


    "Their proposal allows them to take ownership of their traditional lands to protect their heritage and generate economic opportunities that will create jobs and improve social outcomes for local people."


    Minister's office - 6552 5900