South West Native Title Settlement

The most comprehensive Native Title agreement negotiated in Australian history.
Noongar recognition - Lots of people standing on steps and cheering with hands in the air

Negotiated between the six Noongar Agreement Groups, represented by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the WA Government, the Settlement comprises the full and final resolution of all native title claims in the South West of Western Australia, in exchange for the South West Native Title Settlement Package.

About the South West Native Title Settlement

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The Settlement involves around 30,000 Noongar people and covers approximately 200,000 square kilometres.

It is a significant investment in the Noongar community and the shared future of the WA community as a whole, providing the Noongar people with long-term benefits and options for developing Noongar interests.

South West Settlement map

The Settlement will provide opportunities for the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar people to improve economic, social and cultural outcomes for the Noongar community.

In addition, it will deliver long-term benefits to the WA Government and land users through resolving native title claims and removing all 'future act' obligations across the South West.

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) with the six Noongar Agreement Groups. The NTA will continue to apply over the Settlement Area until the ILUAs are conclusively registered and Native Title is surrendered.

South West Native Title Settlement Package

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The Settlement package is a significant investment in Noongar people for generations to come.

Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement

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The Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement (NSHA) came into effect 8 June 2015. Negotiated by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, the Noongar agreement groups and the WA Government it ensures compliance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act where land-use activity may impact an Aboriginal site.

A whole-of-government approach

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The WA Government has taken a whole-of-government approach to the resolution of Native Title in the south west.

The Settlement brings together a range of WA Government agencies, departments and instrumentalities working towards common goals within their various legislative and policy areas for the long-term benefit of the Noongar people.

Key agencies involved in the Settlement include the:

Governance

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The Noongar governance structure was designed to deliver the various outcomes and benefits of the Settlement with a high level of accountability and transparency.

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

Noongar committees

As a part of the Noongar Governance Structure the following committees and structures will be formed:

  • Noongar Advisory Company
  • Noongar Relationship Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Investment Committee
  • Noongar Corporations Committee 

Each committee has a clearly defined role and set of objectives. The inclusion of these discrete committees in the Noongar Governance Structure is to ensure the long-term accountability of the Noongar Boodja Trust is in line with the Noongar peoples' expectations and future aspirations.  

Noongar Advisory Company

The initial Noongar Boodja Trust trustee (NBT Trustee) will rely on the Noongar Advisory Company for important cultural context and understanding in managing assets.

The NBT Trustee will consult with the Noongar Advisory Company on:

  • managing its relationship with and liaison with the Noongar people, the Noongar Corporations Committee, the Central Services Corporation, and the Regional Corporations
  • fostering mutual respect and cooperation between the NBT Trustee, the Noongar people, the Central Services Corporation, and the Regional Corporations
  • the NBT Trustee's fulfilment of the Trust purpose and terms of the Trust Deed generally.

The Noongar Advisory Company will comprise six directors:

  • Two nominated Noongar directors
  • Two Independent directors
  • One State nominee
  • One NBT Trustee nominee.

Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee will manage the selection process for board and committee positions, as well as assisting with the appointment of the directors of the Noongar corporations. 

The six Nomination Committee members cannot be on any other committees or boards within the Noongar corporations or the NBT.  

The Nominations Committee membership will include:

  • one Trustee representative
  • one Noongar Relationship Committee nominee
  • two Noongar people with relevant director and board member experience
  • two independent people with relevant director and board member experience.

Noongar Relationship Committee

The Noongar Relationship Committee will review the NBT Trustee's obligations to the Noongar Corporations under the Trust Deed.  The NBT Trustee is required to consult with the Noongar Relationship Committee on matters relating to the Trust, including but not limited to: 

  • access to the Noongar Future Fund
  • allocating funds from the development of land
  • any changes to the Trust Deed
  • assist with the review of the Central Services Corporation's service delivery to the Noongar Regional Corporations.

The Noongar Relationship Committee will comprise up to 17 members, including:

  • all representatives from the Noongar Corporations Committee
  • three directors of the Noongar Advisory Company comprising: 
    • the Trustee nominee director 
    • one independent director 
    • one expert representative from the Noongar community.

Investment Committee

The Investment Committee will work with the Noongar Corporations Committee, the Noongar Advisory Company, and the WA Government on investment matters and the development of the Investment Policy.

The Investment Committee is also responsible for the appointment of Investment Managers. Investment Managers must at all times be independent and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and meet a range of other specified requirements, including demonstrated experience in property management.

The Investment Committee will have a role in assessing and arranging for the sale, or development and sale, of properties included in the Development Land Fund.  

The Investment Committee will comprise:

  • one Trustee nominated representative to act as Chair
  • two representatives with a minimum of five years' relevant experience and expertise nominated by the Noongar Corporations Committee
  • four independent members nominated by the NBT Trustee on the recommendations of the Nominations Committee including:
    • two members with a minimum five years' experience and expertise in property transaction
    • two members with a minimum 5 years' experience and expertise in fund management greater than $500 million.

Noongar Corporations Committee

The Noongar Corporations Committee (NCC) will be established and supported by the Central Services Corporation and is the primary forum for consultation amongst the Noongar Regional Corporations and the Central Services Corporation. The Noongar Boodja Trust Trustee is not involved in the Noongar Corporations Committee.

The NCC will consist of the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of each of the six Noongar Regional  Corporations and the Central Services Corporation. 

It provides a forum for all of the Noongar Corporations to come together to discuss matters of mutual interest. The Trustee is required to consult the NCC on certain important matters relating to the Trust including: 

  • investment policy
  • nominations to the Investment Committee
  • the strategic plan for the Trust
  • changes to the Trust Deed 
  • nomination of a Dedicated Trustee.

The NCC will also make recommendations to the Trustee on how it should consult with the Noongar Community. 

Publications

Page reviewed 21 January 2020
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