Noongar Land Estate - South West Native Title Settlement

The Noongar Land Estate (NLE) will provide the Noongar people with a significant asset to be developed in line with Noongar cultural, social and economic aspirations for the benefit of generations to come.

The process for identification, selection and allocation of land is set out in the Noongar Land Base Strategy. This process is being undertaken in conjunction with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council. 

The NLE will be held by the Noongar Boodja Trust and the State Government will transfer:

  • up to 300,000 hectares of land allocated as reserve or leasehold and
  • up to 20,000 hectares of land allocated as freehold for cultural or economic development use. 

See the Noongar Land Estate Factsheet and the Land Access for other provisions created to improve Noongar people's access to land.

Management of the Noongar Land Estate

The Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) will own and manage freehold land like any other private land owner and must meet the standard land holding costs associated with freehold land, including local government rates and charges, insurance, fire service levies, and any additional land management costs.
The Noongar Boodja Trust will, in collaboration with the Noongar Regional Corporations, and other appropriate Noongar governance structures, decide whether the land allocated will be for cultural or development purposes.

Cultural land

The NBT will hold and manage cultural land, in consultation with and on the recommendation of the relevant Noongar Regional Corporation(s), in a manner that has regard to the spiritual and cultural connection of the Noongar Agreement Groups to their traditional lands. Cultural land cannot be sold or commercially developed. Standard State Government land management requirements apply.

Development land

The NBT will hold, manage, invest and develop development land in consultation with the Noongar Regional Corporations and an investment committee, in a manner that will generate financial benefits for the Noongar Boodja Trust Future Fund. The investment committee will be established by the NBT to provide guidance on investment decisions.

Further information

More information can be found on the South West Native Title Settlement page. Any enquiries on the identification and allocation of land under the South West Native Title Settlement can be directed to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

Land allocation

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The Noongar Land Base Strategy sets out how land will be identified and eventually allocated to the Noongar Land Estate.

The land to be allocated includes: 

  • unallocated Crown land
  • unmanaged reserves
  • Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) properties.

State Government agencies may also identify freehold land and reserves, for which they hold management orders but no longer require, for possible allocation to the NLE.

The NLE does not include:

  • privately held or owned land
  • Crown land that is currently leased

Aboriginal Lands Trust

The State Government is committed to divesting Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) properties and identifying the beneficiaries of the ALT estate. As a part of the Settlement, some ALT freehold properties that are unleased have already been included in the terms of the Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) for transfer to the Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) and will be among the first parcels to be transferred once the Settlement commences.

Where ALT freehold land is subject to an existing lease, the freehold land may be allocated subject to the terms of the lease. The change in lessor from ALT to NBT will not alter the lessees’ rights and obligations under the existing lease. 

ALT reserve land will also be allocated to the NBT. The process of allocation will take into account any existing encumbrances (such as an existing lease), and the ALT will advise lessees about the re-allocation of the reserve land to the NBT. The change of management body from the ALT to the NBT will not alter the lessees’ rights and obligations under the existing lease terms.

The five steps for the allocation of land to the Noongar Land Estate

Step 1 - Identification

Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC/Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) will identify land that may be eligible for allocation (including Aboriginal Lands Trust Freehold Land).

This land will be assessed against identification criteria set out in the Land Base Strategy and referred to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) for indicative assessment and indicative tenure. DPLH prepares a List of Identified Land with DMIRS indicative assessment/ preferred tenure. 

Step 2 - Selection

SWALSC/ NBT in consultation with relevant Noongar Regional Corporation(s) select parcels from the List of Identified Lands and specify tenure preference within the range identified through the indicative assessment.

Step 3 - Assessment

DPLH commences the Assessment Process (i.e. assessing requirements for divestment, meeting Legislative requirements, Ministerial/ Internal Approvals, etc.). DPLH will consult with relevant government agencies including Local Government Authorities (LGAs).

Step 4 - Finalise terms of allocation

Once selected land is deemed eligible, DPLH will offer Terms of Allocation to NBT. NBT will in turn advise acceptance (or refusal) of the Terms of Allocation within a prescribed timeframe.  

Step 5 - Allocation

The NBT confirms acceptance of the Terms of Allocation and land is transferred to the NLE.

Local Government

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The South West Native Title Settlement Area (Settlement Area) encompasses 103 local governments.


The Department will consult with local government at the assessment stage of the land allocation process.  Land to be transferred to the Noongar Land Estate (NLE) includes:

  • unallocated Crown land
  • unmanaged reserves
  • Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) properties.

The NLE will not include:

  • privately held or owned land
  • Crown land that is currently leased.

See the Map of the South West Settlement Area (6 ILUAs) (PDF 163kb).

Engagement will be in accordance with Section 14 of the Land Administration Act 1997 (WA).  Local Governments will be invited to advise the Department on:

  • whether there are existing local interests in the same land that cannot be met elsewhere
  • whether there are future proposals for the same land or land within the same general location
  • whether there are planning schemes that could affect future use of the land
  • whether there are other relevant land management issues
  • any other advice they may wish to provide about the allocation of the land to the NBT.

The Department will correspond directly with local government in relation to parcels of land that are located within specific local government areas.

There is no requirement for local government to be consulted in relation to freehold land currently held by the State Government.

Payment of rates - Local Government Act 1995

The Noongar Boodja Trust will be required to meet the standard costs, including rates and service charges, associated with owning freehold land. Freehold land may be exempt from rates under S.6.26(2)(g) of the Local Government Act 1995 (WA), where that land is used exclusively for charitable purposes. However, if the freehold land is used for a commercial purpose or leased for a commercial enterprise, it will not be exempt from rates.

Compliance with zoning and planning laws

The Noongar Boodja Trust will be required to obtain standard planning, development and other regulatory approvals in order to develop or do other activities with reserve land. Any lessee of reserve land, including a Noongar Regional Corporation, will need to comply with all applicable laws. 

Information sessions

The department has run information sessions with local government across the Settlement Area to explain:

  • the land allocation process
  • any future consultation to address interests in potential land parcels to be allocated the Noongar Land Estate. 

Any local government that would like to receive a briefing or know more about a particular parcel of land should contact the South West Settlement Implementation Unit.

Land access licence

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The Department will administer land access licences, under the Land Administration Act 1997.

The Department  will administer land access licences, under the Land Administration Act 1997, to the six Noongar Regional Corporations to provide the Noongar people, member(s) of a Noongar Regional Corporation, with lawful access to state owned land for:

  • visiting and caring for sites and country
  • gathering, preparing and consuming bush tucker
  • gathering and preparing and using traditional medicine
  • conducting ceremonies and cultural activities
  • camping temporarily on country
  • lighting camp fires or ceremonial fires
  • having meetings on country

The licence does not provide access to certain land including land that is leased, or where public works are underway, land subject to a resource tenement and other conditions. See Annexure O of the ILUAs for full details including what activities are not permitted and the obligation of the Noongar Regional Corporations under the licence.

Resources and templates

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Find all technical documents, fact sheets and a range of resources developed to assist with the efficient use of the NSHA
Page reviewed 8 December 2021