Within the remote regions of WA there are up to 280 places that may be characterised as being Aboriginal communities in accordance with the definition of Aboriginal community in the Aboriginal Communities Act 1979.
The term is very broad; ranging from seasonal camps to small towns, and including areas within gazetted towns that have certain characteristics.
State Planning Policy 3.2 Planning for Aboriginal Communities was initially published in the Government Gazette on 11 August 2000. The WAPC commenced reviewing the Policy in October 2009. During the course of the review it became apparent that not all Aboriginal communities needed a land-use plan. Therefore, the term Aboriginal settlement was defined to clarify which Aboriginal communities would benefit from the preparation of a land-use plan.
State Planning Policy 3.2 Aboriginal Settlements was published in the Government Gazette on 11 May 2011, revoking the first published version. The Policy defines Aboriginal settlement as being: 'a discrete place that is not contiguous with a gazetted town, is inhabited or intended to be inhabited wholly or principally by persons of Aboriginal descent, as defined under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972, and which has no less than 5 domestic dwellings and/or is supported by essential services that are provided by one or more state agency(s)'. It is estimated that of the 280 Aboriginal communities in WA that up to 150 may be characterised as Aboriginal settlements.
The objectives of the Policy are to:
- provide for the recognition of Aboriginal settlements through local planning schemes and strategies
- collaboratively plan for the orderly and coordinated development of Aboriginal settlements.
What is a layout plan?
A layout plan is a land-use plan for an Aboriginal settlement, which consists of:
- background report
See State Planning Policy 3.2 for clarification regarding Layout Plan preparation, consultation, endorsement and amendment.
Why don’t some layout plans have reports?
Layout plans have been prepared by a wide range of consultants over many years. Prior to 2005, layout plans did not generally include background reports.
Are layout plans Aboriginal heritage clearance?
No. Layout plans do not represent Aboriginal heritage clearance under state or commonwealth legislation. Layout plans may identify 'no-go areas', but unless stated in the background report these are not outcomes of comprehensive assessment.
Prior to the commencement of development, the proponent should contact the Department of Indigenous Affairs, the traditional owner representative organisation and the community representative organisation to confirm Aboriginal heritage responsibilities.
Are layout plans local government approval?
No. Layout plans do not represent local government building, planning or environmental health approval.
Prior to the commencement of development, the proponent should contact the local government to confirm local government regulatory responsibilities.
Do layout plans affect native title?
No. Layout plans do not affect native title. Although planning does not affect native title, the act of implementing the plan may be considered to be a future act.
Prior to the commencement of development, the proponent should contact the National Native Title Tribunal and the traditional owner representative organisation to confirm native title issues.