WA-first pilot driving development in remote Aboriginal communities

News story
Critical land tenure reform is enabling economic activation, business development and the regularisation of services in Bidyadanga, WA’s largest remote community.
image of Bidyadanga beach at sunset

The Bidyadanga Land Activation Pilot project (Bidyadanga Pilot) is an innovative place-based partnership between the WA Government, community residents and Native Title holders to remove land tenure barriers and deliver a sustainable future for Bidyadanga, WA’s largest remote Aboriginal community.

Land tenure reform is the first step to full economic transformation and, as is common across remote Aboriginal communities, Bidyadanga has historically faced inflexible land tenure arrangements, as well as a confusing mix of tenure types.

The Bidyadanga Project’s Lead Negotiator, Tiffiny Vale, said while appropriate tenure is a necessary first step to land activation, it is not possible to realise the community and Native Title holders’ aspirations if their proposed developments do not comply with the local planning scheme, building codes, heritage laws and regulations.

“The Bidyadanga Pilot is a new way of doing business as our objectives stretch beyond the resolution of land tenure and native title issues, to adhering to land use planning, building code and heritage laws and regulations, and addressing any issues that may arise from Community By-laws,” she said.

“The Bidyadanga Pilot also recognises that Government must work in partnership with Aboriginal people by keeping culture at the heart of reform. Transformation must be built around the Bidyadanga community's own vision for the future and cannot be realised without local leadership and the active participation of native title holders and community members.”

To support this co-design process, cultural mapping is being used as a valuable engagement tool to assist the Bidyadanga community to identify and reclaim resources. Data about the Bidyadanga community and Native Title holders’ use of country, and of important ceremonial sites, is vital information in the ongoing negotiations of land use management.

To find out more about the Bidyadanga Project, email bidyadangaproject@dpc.wa.gov.au.

Page reviewed 20 August 2021