The Yamatji Nation Indigenous Land Use Agreement, which covers more than 48,000 square kilometres of land in the Mid-West, was executed on 24 February 2020, following a Federal Court hearing on 7 February recognising the native title rights and interests of the Yamatji Nation over significant parcels of land.
The Conclusive Registration Date under the Agreement is 26 October 2020.
The Agreement intends to provide an enduring benefits package to ensure self-determination and long-term economic independence for the people of the Yamatji Nation.
DPLH will provide general oversight in the implementation of the Yamatji Government Standard Heritage Agreements (YGSHA) that will be required to be entered into by State Government Departments and Agencies when undertaking Activity in the Agreement Area.
The parties acknowledge that the protection of Aboriginal Heritage under this Agreement includes (but is not limited to) the establishment of three working groups for the collaborative management and shared responsibilities in relation to:
- management of copies of relevant State Archives to be compiled in partnership with the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation; and
- creation of a Yamatji library in the WA Museum and options for cooperative management of the Yamatji heritage and cultural materials
- funding a range of initiatives for the management of Aboriginal Heritage
- funding for a cultural heritage advisor and for the acquisition of cultural record management software
- delivery of a project that identifies, restores and protects water based cultural sites; and
- general oversight and advice to DPLH in relation to heritage issues.
Further information on the Yamatji Nation Agreement including copies of the ILUA and maps can be found on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.
Yamatji Government Standard Heritage Agreement (YGSHA)
The YGSHA (YNILUA Schedule 16) provides State Government Departments and Agencies and the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation (the Parties) a uniform and efficient approach to working in partnership when undertaking activities and Aboriginal heritage surveys In the YNILUA area. The YGSHA assists the Parties in complying with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA) and provides a clear, timetabled framework about their various Aboriginal heritage obligations.
The Parties agree that on and from the Conclusive Registration Date of 26 October 2020, if a State Government Department or Agency (Government Proponent) intends to undertake any Activity within the YNILUA area, they must enter into a YGSHA with the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation.
Please refer to YNILUA Clause 22.4.
Activity is defined as any activity, including physical works or operations, involving entry onto the Agreement Area (whether on the surface of the land or waters or under or over that surface).
Please refer to YNILUA Clause 1.2.
Exchange of Information
The Parties acknowledge the importance of an early exchange of information between the Government Proponent and the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation, to ensure that the Traditional Owners and the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation know what Activities are proposed by a Government Proponent, to avoid misunderstandings and to enable informed decisions to be made and in order that the desired outcomes are achieved. In accordance with this objective:
the Government Proponent will provide an outline of the nature, location and timing of the Activity to be undertaken in the Agreement Area for the following six months, to the extent that such information is known to the Government Proponent, as applicable;
- if any changes are made to the Activity proposed within the six month period, those changes will be notified to the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation within 5 Business Days of the change/s being made; and
- the Government Proponent must ensure that the information provided includes, without limitation, details of any Minor Impact Activity
Please refer to YGSHA Clause 7.1 for further information.
Except where YGSHA Clause 8.1 applies, if the Government Proponent intends to undertake an Activity in the Aboriginal Heritage Area, it must issue a notice in writing to the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation in accordance with YGSHA Clause 8.2 (Activity Notice template attached below).
The main purposes of an Activity Notice is:
- to provide adequate information to assist the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation to make an assessment as to whether a Survey is required and if so, whether a Site Identification Survey or a Site Avoidance Survey; and
- if a Survey is required, to provide information relevant to the conduct of that Survey.
Under YGSHA Clause 8.1 the Government Proponent may elect not to give an Activity Notice in respect of any proposed Activity where the Activity proposed to be conducted consists entirely of:
- Minor Impact Activity; or
- Low Ground Disturbance Activity of a class that the Corporation has notified in writing to the Government Proponent need not be the subject of an Activity Notice.
Please refer to YGSHA Clause 1.1 for definitions
In the event that the Government Proponent, acting reasonably, is unsure as to whether clause 8.1(a) operates to exempt it from giving an Activity Notice, then it should give the Activity Notice in any event.
Please contact the Yamatji Nation Heritage team for guidance.
Yamatji Proponent Standard Heritage Agreement (YPSHA)
From the YNILUA Conclusive registration Date, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is bound to apply the heritage condition prescribed at YNILUA Clause 22.5, upon grant of mining or petroleum tenure in the YNILUA area.
The condition requires that tenure holders must either enter into a YPSHA or another Aboriginal Heritage Agreement (YNILUA Schedule 17) with the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation, or if agreement cannot be reached, the tenure holder must offer to enter into a YPSHA by forwarding an executed copy to the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation, before any rights can be exercised. The tenure holder must provide a Statutory Declaration (as per YNILUA Schedule 18) as evidence of compliance with that condition.
Please refer to YNILUA Clause 22.5.
Further information on the YPSHA including the YPSHA template, the Statutory Declaration template and the YPSHA Activity Notice template can be found on the DMIRS website.
DPLH and Yamatji Heritage Working Group
As part of the YNILUA Government Partnership Committee (YNILUA Schedule 13) DPLH and Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation Working Group will be established to deliver the following:
- increasing the overall understanding of Yamatji Heritage Values and exploring strategies to develop management tools that include articulation of these values
- prioritising management planning of Aboriginal Sites of high importance and significance to the Yamatji Community, particularly those sites that may be vulnerable to damage
- provide advice to DPLH in relation to sites and objects that should be registered pursuant to s38 Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AHA) or places that should constitute 'protected places' pursuant to s19 AHA
- prepare local and regional heritage management plans within the Settlement area
- Developing authoritative information systems that safeguard Yamatji heritage information
- building the capacity of the Yamatji community to engage in Yamatji Heritage Management
- Reassessing the integrity of information in the Register of Aboriginal places and objects, and, where required, improving the quality of the information
- make recommendations and provide advice to DPLH to inform decisions on the application of ss 16 and 18 of the AHA
- provide advice and work with DPLH on the development of Aboriginal heritage training and employment initiatives within the Settlement area
- report incidents believed to be breaches of the AHA to DPLH
- seek funding to support the facilitation of heritage training and management arrangements in the Settlement area
- provide advice to DPLH with respect to the management of any discovered ancestral remains; and
- consider how amendments to the AHA that occur after the Working Group is established impact upon any or all of the above.