Some key events include the initial Noongar claim, signing of the Heads of Agreement, extensive negotiations, the Noongar peoples authorisation of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and the legal proceedings relating to the registration of the ILUAs.
On 19 December 2019, the Full Federal Court upheld the Native Title Registrar’s decision to register the six South West Settlement ILUAs.
Once all legal proceedings are resolved and the six South West Settlement ILUAs are conclusively registered, the Settlement can commence (estimated to be after mid-2020). The Noongar Boodja Trust will be established and will begin receiving, holding and managing the benefits and assets associated with the Settlement.
The steps leading to this event are described below.
|September 2006||Metropolitan Area Native Title Trial – judgment in favour of Noongar Native Title over the Perth Metropolitan area (Bennell v Western Australia (2006) 230 ALR 603).|
|April 2008||An appeal by the WA Government against the Bennell decision was upheld in the Federal Court.
Following on from this decision the WA Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), the representative body for the claimants, agreed to develop a new strategy to resolve the claims by negotiation rather than litigation.
|December 2009||The WA Government and SWALSC, on behalf of the claimants, signed a ‘Heads of Agreement’ to commence negotiations with a view to settlement.|
|January 2010||Negotiations commenced between SWALSC and the WA Government.|
|December 2011||The WA Government made an ‘in-principle offer’ to SWALSC and negotiations continued until July 2013.|
|July 2013||The WA Government presented a ‘final offer’ to SWALSC for consideration by the Noongar people.|
|October 2014||SWALSC confirmed in-principle agreement of the six Indigenous Land Use Agreements.|
|January to March 2015||All six Native Title Agreement Groups voted in favour of the Settlement.
Between 31 January and 28 March 2015, SWALSC conducted six formal authorisation meetings in the south-west region enabling eligible Noongar people in each of the six native title claim areas to vote to accept or reject the Settlement agreement.
|8 June 2015||Execution of the ILUAs (signed off by the parties). Commencement of the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement.|
|July 2015||SWALSC commenced work toward establishing the Noongar Corporations and selecting the Noongar Boodja Trustee.|
|September to December 2015||The ILUA Registration process for the six authorised ILUAs commenced, with a three month notification period during which objections could be lodged. The notification period ended on 16 December 2015.|
|October 2015||The Noongar Recognition Bill was introduced to the Parliament of Western Australia.|
|November 2015||The Land Administration (South West Native Title Settlement) Bill 2015 was introduced to the Parliament of Western Australia.|
|16 December 2015||The notification period for the ILUAs ended. The Native Title Registrar commenced consideration of the 107 valid objections lodged by 25 objectors to the registration of the ILUAs.|
|December 2015||Four applications were made to the High Court against the Native Title Registrar and the parties to the ILUAs on the basis that four of the ILUAs were not ILUAs as defined by the NTA. These applications were heard together and referred to collectively as McGlade v Native Title Registrar.|
|February 2016||The High Court applications were remitted to the Full Federal Court.|
|April 2016||The WA Government and SWALSC provided submissions to the Native Title Registrar in response to the objections lodged.|
|6 June 2016||On WA Day, the following Acts were proclaimed:
• Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016; and
• Land Administration (South West Native Title Settlement) Act 2016.
|7 June 2016||The Water By-laws were gazetted:
• Country Areas Water Supply Amendment By-laws 2016; and
• Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Amendment By-laws 2016
|27 June 2016||Announcement that Perpetual Trustee Company Limited will be the initial Trustee for the Noongar Boodja Trust.
The Trustee will only be appointed at the ‘Trust effective date’, which will be after conclusive registration of the ILUAs.
|July 2016||The Full Federal Court commenced hearing for McGlade v Native Title Registrar.|
|October 2016||SWALSC released the Transition Programs for both the Central Services Corporation and the six Regional Corporations.|
|2 February 2017||The Full Federal Court handed down judgment for McGlade v Native Title Registrar 2017. The Federal Court Judgment did not have any bearing on the content of the South West Native Title Settlement Agreements, but related only to the registration of the Agreements under the Native Title Act 1993. The judgment delayed the commencement of the Settlement.|
|15 February 2017||The Commonwealth Government introduced the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 to address the implications of the McGlade Judgment.|
|20 March 2017||The Parliament of Australia - Senate Committee report released its response to the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017.
March 2017 - Report by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee - Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 [Provisions]
|22 June 2017||The Commonwealth Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) Act 2017 began operation.
The Act amended the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 and removed uncertainty around the validity of registered Indigenous Land Use Agreements, specifically Area ILUAs, following the McGlade Judgment.
|22 August 2017||Fresh applications were lodged with the Native Title Registrar for the:
• Ballardong People ILUA;
• South West Boojarah #2 ILUA;
• Wagyl Kaip & Southern Noongar ILUA; and
• Whadjuk People ILUA.
The other two ILUAs - the Yued ILUA and the Gnaala Karla Booja ILUA – were not the subject of the McGlade judgment were taken to be, and to always have been, ILUAs and were awaiting a registration decision by the Native Title Registrar.
|11 January 2018||The notification period for the four ILUAs ended.|
|17 October 2018||All six ILUAs were registered by the Native Title Registrar. 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.|
|December 2018||Applications were lodged with the Federal Court seeking Judicial Review of the Native Title Registrar’s decisions to register the six ILUAs.|
|30 and 31 May 2019||The applications seeking Judicial Review were heard by the Full Federal Court. At the hearing the applicants also sought leave to raise an additional ground for review arising from a recent decision (Northern Land Council v Quall FCA 989). The Full Court agreed to hear this additional ground during their next sitting.|
|22 November 2019||Ms Smith lodged a separate compensation claim over the entire Settlement area. The claim is separate from the registration of the ILUAs and the related judicial review proceedings and does not affect the status of the Settlement.|
|25 November 2019||The Full Federal Court heard the final (Quall) ground for judicial review of the Native Title Registrar's decisions to register the six South West Settlement ILUAs.|
|19 December 2019||The Full Federal Court unanimously confirmed that the Native Title Registrar was correct in registering the six South West Settlement ILUAs.|
|16 January 2020||Six special leave applications lodged with the High Court of Australia.
WA Government and SWALSC will consider its responses. The High Court will decide whether to accept or refuse the six special leave applications.