The South West Native Title Settlement (the Settlement) is a landmark native title agreement for the State of Western Australia (WA) which will resolve native title across the south west of WA. The Settlement will provide an opportunity for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar People to improve the economic, social and cultural development of the Noongar community. To learn more about the Settlement visit the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s (DPC) website.
Indigenous land use agreement
On 8 June 2015, the six South West Settlement Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) were executed by the WA Government and the ILUA Groups; Yued, Whadjuk People, Gnaala Karla Booja, Ballardong People, South West Boojarah #2, and Wagyl Kaip & Southern Noongar groups.
The ILUAs have now been lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal, to be considered for registration under the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) (Clth). Any objections to registration will need to be considered before the ILUAs can be registered, and any native title is then surrendered across the south west of the State in exchange for the agreed package of benefits under the ILUAs.
Future act regime
The future act provisions of the NTA will continue to apply over the ILUA areas until the ILUAs are registered and native title is surrendered. It is only once native title has been surrendered that the NTA will cease to operate.
The Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) Tengraph system has been updated to show each of the six ILUA areas as File Notation Areas (FNA) until such time the ILUAs are registered.
Noongar standard heritage agreements
From execution on 8 June 2015, the ILUAs bind the Government of WA to use an agreed heritage template, the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement (NSHA), when conducting Aboriginal heritage surveys in the ILUA areas (unless there is an existing heritage agreement). The NSHA provides parties with a framework for addressing aboriginal heritage management obligations, and the conduct of Aboriginal heritage surveys, where necessary.
Grant of petroleum tenure situated over the south west native title settlement area
From 8 June 2015, DMP is bound to apply the singular ILUA area or multiple ILUA areas heritage condition prescribed at Clause 18 of Schedule 10 of each ILUA, upon grant of petroleum tenure. The condition requires that tenure holders must enter into a heritage agreement or a NSHA with the relevant ILUA group before any rights can be exercised. The registered title holder must provide a Proponent Statutory Declaration (as per Annexure U to the ILUAs) as evidence of compliance of that condition.
Further information on the South West Settlement, including maps, boundary descriptions, and next steps can be found on the website of DPC. More information about the Aboriginal Heritage Act or advice can also be sought from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org