Historic Native Title agreement finalised

News story
A historic Indigenous Land Use Agreement has been finalised with the people of the Yamatji Nation.
A close up view of people engaged in Aboriginal dancing.

In a historic first, the State Government and the people of the Yamatji Nation have entered into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement that includes both the recognition of Native Title and provides a package of benefits that will ensure the social and economic independence of future generations of Yamatji people.

The Agreement, which covers about 48,000 square kilometres of land in the Mid-West, was signed on 7 February in Geraldton, following a Federal Court hearing recognising the Native Title rights and interests of the Yamatji Nation over significant parcels of land.

Negotiated by staff from the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Aboriginal Policy and Coordination Unit, the Agreement, valued at about $500 million, resolves the State Government’s Native Title compensation liability for acts that have impaired or extinguished Native Title in the agreement area. 

The benefits 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 rental and 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 creation of a conservation estate, joint vesting and joint management opportunities, the handback of about 15,000 hectares of land in freehold or conditional freehold and up to 90,000 hectares of land in the form of managed reserves.

The Agreement will now be submitted to the National Native Title Tribunal for registration. Once conclusively registered, the benefits will begin to flow to the people of the Yamatji Nation.

For further information contact YamatjiNationAgreement@dpc.wa.gov.au.

Page reviewed 27 February 2020