South West Native Title Settlement

The most comprehensive Native Title agreement negotiated in Australian history.

Cultural warning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

 

Noongar people and Noongar Elders celebrating Traditional Owner recognition on the steps of the WA Parliament. Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016.
Noongar people and Noongar Elders celebrating Traditional Owner recognition on the steps of the WA Parliament. Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016.

 

South West Native Title Settlement

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The most comprehensive native title agreement negotiated in Australian history. The Settlement involves around 30,000 Noongar people and covers approximately 200,000 square kilometres of the south-west region.

The Settlement is a long-term investment in the Noongar people and the shared success of Western Australia.

The South West Native Title Settlement (Settlement), in the form of six Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) was negotiated between the Noongar people and the WA Government. The Settlement commenced on 25 February 2021.

On 29 March 2021 the initial Noongar Boodja Trust (NBT) was established, to manage and hold all assets from the Settlement, and the first historic payments were made by the WA government to the NBT:

  • $50 million to the Future Fund; and  
  • $10 million to the Operations Fund.

The Noongar peoples’ strong relationship to their boodja (Noongar land) is reflected through the many components of the Settlement package, including the creation of the Noongar Land Estate and the recognition, in statute, of the Noongar peoples as the Traditional Owners of the south west region.

Learn more about the Noongar groups that form the greater Noongar Nation.

Elements of the Settlement package

The Settlement package provides the Noongar people with sustainable assets and options for developing Noongar interests, including opportunities for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar people to elevate economic, social and community outcomes.

Six Indigenous Land Use Agreements and key events

South West Settlement map

The full details of the Settlement are recorded in six Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) made in compliance with the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA).

Read the South West Native Title Settlement News for the latest information about the status of the Settlement, or see the  ‘Settlement Commencement Flowchart’, detailing the resolution of native title and the historic first payments into the Noongar Boodja Trust. 

For a chronology of the all key events read the South West Native Title Settlement Timeline.

Resolution of native title in the Settlement Area

From 13 April 2021 the native title act ceased to apply over the Settlement area - meaning future act processes no longer occur.

Read about the ‘commencement of the Settlement and resolution of native title’ to understand what this means for existing agreements, the granting of mining and petroleum titles and the protection of Noongar heritage.

A whole-of-government approach

The Settlement brings together a range of WA Government departments and instrumentalities within their various legislative and policy areas for sustainable outcomes and genuine partnerships with the Noongar people.

Noongar Traditional Owners

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Recognition of the Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the south-west region.

Noongar peoples' Traditional Owner recognition through an Act of Parliament

A fundamental component of the Settlement is the recognition of the Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the south west region of Western Australia. On 6 June 2016, the Noongar people were recognised, through an Act of the WA Parliament, as the Traditional Owners of the south west region of Western Australia.

Read more about the Noongar peoples' recognition through an Act of Parliament.

Noongar Agreement Groups

The Noongar Nation is one of the largest Aboriginal cultural blocs in Australia and covers the entire south-west corner of Western Australia. At the time of British settlement up to 15 Noongar language dialects existed. To learn more about the Noongar people visit the Kaartidijin Noongar website, the Noongar Language Centre , and view the map of Indigenous Australia.

Read about some of the key events that have shaped Noongar history since British arrival (to learn more about the resilience of the Noongar people and the impact of colonisation.

Find below links to the 6 Indigenous Land Use Agreement maps that form the South West Native Title Settlement, the major towns within these areas, and references to some of the Noongar language groups specific to the regions. The listing of language groups is not definitive and consultation with Noongar people from the region should be sought through the relevant Noongar Elders – or contact the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council for advice.

Noongar Agreement Group Towns within the Indigenous Land Use Agreement Area People
Ballardong People ILUA York, Northam, Hyden, Kondinin - ILUA Map
  • Ballardong / Balardong
  • Njakinjaki / Ngadji Ngadji
Gnaala Karla Booja ILUA Mandurah, Bunbury, Donnybrook - ILUA Map
  • Pindjarup
  • Wilman
South West Boojarah ILUA Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Pemberton, Nannup - ILUA Map
  • Wadandi
  • Pibelman/Bibbulman
Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar ILUA Katanning, Gnowangerup, Albany - ILUA Map
  • Kaneang /Kaniyang
  • Koren / Koreng
  • Minang
  • Wudjari
Whadjuk People ILUA Perth metropolitan area - ILUA Map
  • Whadjuk/Wadjuk
Yued ILUA Jurien, Moora, Lancelin, Gingin - ILUA Map
  • Yued/Yuat
  • Amangu

Separate to the South West Native Title Settlement is the Esperance Nyungar Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Map of the South West Native Title Settlement Agreement Areas.

Noongar governance

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The Noongar governance structure will operate with high level accountability and transparency to deliver the major assets provided through the Settlement.

The Noongar governance structure comprises three major components:

Noongar Boodja Trust - will hold and deliver assets for the Noongar Corporations

Noongar Corporations - the representatives of the six Noongar Agreement Groups and the only beneficiaries of the Noongar Boodja Trust

Noongar Committees - a range of committees and structures that provide support, direction and influence over how the Noongar Boodja Trust is managed.

Noongar Land

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A range of Noongar-held land assets, including further arrangements for Noongar peoples’ access to and co-management of Crown land with the WA Government.

Noongar Land Estate

The Noongar Land Estate 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. 

Read more about the Noongar Land Estate and the allocation of land

Noongar Land Fund

A 10-year fund to support the land, joint management and heritage objectives of the South West Native Title Settlement.

Read more about the Noongar Land Fund.

South West Conservation Estate

The Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions and the six Noongar Regional Corporations will enter into co-operative and joint management agreements for the care and protection of the Estate.

Read more about these agreements

Noongar peoples' access to Crown Land 

Land access licences will be provided to the six Noongar Regional Corporations to enable Noongar peoples' lawful access to certain unallocated Crown Land and unmanaged reserve land for customary activities.

Read more about access to Crown land.

Water by-laws

Amendments to the water by-laws provide Noongar peoples access to Public Drinking Water Source Areas for certain customary purposes.

Read more about the importance of access to water source areas.

Noongar heritage

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Frameworks to improve cooperation, management and preservation of Noongar heritage in compliance with the State's Aboriginal Heritage Act and Regulations.

The Noongar peoples’ connection to the land and the desire to improve access and protect places of significance, were key elements in the negotiation of the Settlement.

Two separate heritage agreements, the Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement and the Noongar Heritage Partnership Agreement, were negotiated.  

  • Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement (NSHA) ensures compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act and Regulations when a planned use activity may adversely impact an Aboriginal site.  The Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement came into effect June 2015 and applies to WA Government departments and entities.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has developed a range of resources and templates for users of the NSHA. DPLH can also provide general guidance about the Act relevant to your circumstances.

Visit the DPLH website for more information about NHPA.

Community and economic development

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Commitments between the WA Government and Noongar people to increase economic opportunities and improve community development.

Community development

The Community Development Framework is a commitment between the WA Government and the Noongar People to a set of principles and priorities aimed at improving Noongar community development.

Read more about the Community Development Framework.

Economic participation

The Noongar Economic Participation Framework will assist Noongar business capacity and interests towards improving participation in the wider economy.

Read more about the Noongar Economic Participation Framework.

Noongar housing program

The transfer of housing assets to the Noongar Boodja Trust.

Read more about the Noongar housing program.

Capital works program

The WA Government will provide up to $6.5 million to establish offices for the Central Services Corporation and six Noongar Regional Corporations and conditional funds for the development of a Noongar Cultural Centre.

Read more about the Capital works Program.

Resources

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A comprehensive list of documents relating to the South West Native Title Settlement is available on the Resources page.

Page reviewed 29 July 2021