South West Native Title Settlement news

Corporate report
News and key events

Special Leave Applications – update on timing

27 July 2020

The High Court of Australia has now received all relevant documents (application books) for the six special leave applications related to the registration of the six Indigenous Land Use Agreements. An additional special leave application was also filed by a self-represented objector who received a further time extension because of COVID-19 impacts. The WA Government has responded to all special leave applications in accordance with the rules of the Court.

The earliest possible date for a decision in response to all special leave applications is now August 2020.  If the High Court does not allow the special leave applications this would complete all available legal appeal processes. The Settlement could commence late in 2020 providing for the establishment of the Noongar Boodja Trust and the removal of future act obligations in the Settlement area at a later time. 

Learn more about the Noongar Boodja Trust and the future Noongar governance structures

Special Leave Applications lodged with the High Court of Australia

16 January 2020

On 16 January 2020 six special leave applications, one for each of the six the Indigenous Land Use Agreements that form the Settlement, were lodged with the High Court of Australia.

The WA Government alongside the South West Land and Sea Council, the representatives of the Noongar Agreements groups, will consider its response to those applications.

In the coming weeks the High Court will decide whether to accept or refuse the six special leave applications.

The Settlement cannot proceed until all legal proceedings are resolved. The special leave applications will further delay the Settlement’s commencement, at this stage until mid-2020.

Federal Court upholds Registration of South West Native Title Settlement

19 December 2019

The Full Court of the Federal Court unanimously confirmed on 19 December 2019 that the Native Title Registrar was correct in registering all six Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that form the South West Native Title Settlement (Settlement).

The Court’s decision is a major step towards commencement of the Settlement.

The Settlement will establish a strong Noongar governance structure through the creation of Noongar Corporations that represent the interests of the Noongar people. The WA Government and other stakeholders will work in partnership with the Noongar community, through the Noongar Corporations, to realise these goals.

Since the signing of the ILUAs more than four years ago, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), the WA Government and the future Noongar Boodja Trustee have been busy preparing for the Settlement.

There is a possibility that some parties may seek special leave to the High Court of Australia to appeal the decision and they now have 28 days to do so. The Settlement cannot proceed until all Court matters relating to the registration of the ILUAs are resolved.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has urged everyone to now get behind the Settlement to ensure that the flow of benefits can start as soon as possible.

Read the Media Release from the Minister.

ILUA Registration Decisions – Progress of Judicial Review Applications

21 June 2019

On 30 and 31 May 2019 the Full Federal Court heard the applications for judicial review of the Native Title Registrar's decisions to register the six South West Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

At the hearing the applicants also sought leave to raise an additional ground for review arising from a recent decision in Northern Land Council v Quall. The Full Court agreed to hear this additional ground on 25 November 2019. As a result, the Full Federal Court is unlikely to make a decision on the applications for judicial review before early 2020.

ILUA registration decisions – Judicial review applications filed

12 December 2018

Following the Native Title Registrar's decisions to register each of the six South West Native Title Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) on 17 October 2018, applications seeking judicial review of the decisions were lodged with the Federal Court. The applications will be heard late in the last half of 2019.

The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the WA Government will respond to the applications, and continue to work together to ensure the successful implementation of all six Agreements for the Noongar community and the State of Western Australia as a whole. As a result of the applications for judicial review, the Settlement is not expected to commence before 2020.

All six ILUAs registered

26 October 2018

See the news bulletin about the successful registration of all six South West Native Title Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and the next steps towards Settlement commencement.

ILUA Registration Decisions released by Native Title Registrar

17 October 2018

The Native Title Registrar has today registered all six South West Native Title Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements.
See the National Native Title Tribunal's media statement, Minister Wyatt's media release, and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council's Latest News.

ILUA Registration – Registration Decision Date Confirmed

18 July 2018

The National Native Title Tribunal has advised the State and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council that the Native Title Registrar expects to make a decision in relation to the registration of each of the six South West Native Title Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) on or about 17 October 2018. The Registrar is now satisfied that a fair opportunity has been provided for all relevant persons to comment on all the objections received in relation to the registration of the ILUAs. Subject to any legal proceedings, the Settlement is expected to commence in early 2019.

Learn more about the ILUA registration on the NNTT website, and the steps toward Settlement commencement.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister meets the SWALSC Board Members

15 May 2018

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt met with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council Board to reaffirm the WA Government’s ongoing commitment to the South West Native Title Settlement. All pre-conditions for the commencement of the Settlement have been successfully met and the Minister and the SWALSC Board reflected upon how disappointed they are by further delays to the registration of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs).

The SWALSC Board members and the Minister also discussed SWALSC’s intention to transition to the Central Services Corporation as a part of the future Noongar Governance Structure.

Learn more by reading the SWALSC's Transition Program.

ILUA Registration – Procedural Fairness – timeframe extended

2 May 2018

The National Native Title Tribunal has confirmed that the Native Title Registrar continues to consider the objections to the Indigenous Land Use Agreements as a part of the procedural fairness process. Procedural fairness is about giving people who may be affected by a decision the chance to have their say. The ongoing procedural fairness process further delays the registration of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements and means the Settlement is now expected to commence in 2020.

Learn more about procedural fairness and ILUA registration on the NNTT website.

SWALSC Cultural Advice Workshops

1 May 2018

The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) has appointed Tony Walley as the Cultural Governance Manager to consult with Noongar Elders about the development and ongoing management of the Cultural Advice Policies. The Cultural Advice Policies will set out how each of the six Regional Corporations will make cultural decisions, and how the individual Regional Corporations will support their Noongar Elders involvement in cultural governance decisions. Cultural advice workshops are being conducted across the south west region.

If you would like to know more or get involved please visit the SWALSC website.

Aboriginal Heritage Act Review – Have Your Say

13 March 2018

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt has announced a review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, the legislation responsible for preserving and protecting Aboriginal Heritage in Western Australia. The release of the Consultation Paper marks the commencement of a three-phase public consultation process that will ultimately lead to the introduction of a new Aboriginal heritage legislation into the Western Australian Parliament.

Get involved and learn more by visiting the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

Objections to the 4 ILUAs lodged for registration with the National Native Title Tribunal

8 February 2018

The three month objection period to the registration of the 4 ILUAs, the subject of the McGlade judgment, closed on 11 January 2018. In total 31 objections from 16 objectors were received.

The WA Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) will respond to the objections as appropriate. The Registrar will then decide if the 6 ILUAs are to be registered. The Registrar's decision may be subject to Judicial review and 'conclusive registration' of the ILUAs can only occur once all legal proceedings are completed.

Once the 6 ILUAs are conclusively registered the Settlement will commence - the 'Settlement Effective Date'. After that date the Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) can be established and will be able to receive, hold and manage all the funds and assets arising from the Settlement. It is anticipated that the Settlement will commence in 2020. The legal surrender of native title will occur 30 business days after the Settlement Effective Date, which is when the future act regime will cease to apply to the land within the Settlement Area.

Notification period closes for the 4 Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs)

11 January 2018

The notification period for the four ILUAs, the subject of the McGlade decision, has closed. The notification period ran from 11 October 2017 to the 11 January 2018. Any queries about this process should be directed to the National Native Title Tribunal.

Visit the National Native Title Tribunal website or Freecall on 1800 640 501.

Notification Period – the four Indigenous Land Use Agreements the subject of the McGlade judgment

4 October 2017

On 4 October 2017 the National Native Title Tribunal published notices in the Koori Mail and West Australian announcing the Notice of Applications to register the SWNTS area agreements on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

The notice applies to the following Settlement ILUAs:

  • Ballardong People ILUA;
  • South West Boojarah #2 ILUA;
  • Wagyl Kaip & Southern Noongar ILUA: and
  • Whadjuk People ILUA.

The other 2 Settlement ILUAs, the Yued ILUA and the Gnaala Karla Booja ILUA, not the subject of the McGlade judgment, are taken to be and to always have been ILUAs and are awaiting a registration decision by the Native Title Registrar.

The notification period for the four ILUAs will run from 11 October 2017 to the 11 January 2018.

Any person claiming to hold native title to any part of the area covered by the agreements may object in writing, if they think the application to register was not properly certified – please see the NNTT website or the public notice for more details.

New versions of the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement Templates – Now Available

3 October 2017

The 1 July 2017 Machinery of Government (MOG) changes generally involve the amalgamation and reduction in the number of existing government departments and agencies.

Aboriginal heritage functions from the previous Department of Aboriginal Affairs are now a part of the newly formed Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. The NSHA templates have been updated to include reference to the new Department, this minor change has been endorsed by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and will not affect any pre-existing NSHAs.

Access the new NSHA templates.

ILUA Registration Decisions - final ground for judicial review to be heard in November 2019

On the 25 November 2019, the Full Federal Court will hear the final ground for judicial review of the Native Title Registrar's decisions to register the six South West Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs). The Settlement cannot proceed until the judicial review applications have been concluded and the ILUAs are conclusively registered. Therefore the earliest likely date for the conclusion of these processes and the commencement of the Settlement is now by 2020. The November 25 hearing will deal with the matter raised in the recent Full Federal Court finding in the Quall decision (Northern Land Council v Quall FCA 989). In the meantime, the WA Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council continue to work in partnership in readiness for the Settlement.

Page reviewed 28 July 2020