The McGowan Government and the Traditional Owner Negotiating Team, representing native title claims in the Mid-West, have reached in-principle agreement for a comprehensive native title settlement over 48,000 square kilometres of land in the region, including Geraldton.
The native title claims are the Yamatji Nation, Southern Yamatji, Hutt River, Mullewa Wadjari and Widi Mob claims.
The agreement focusses on Aboriginal empowerment and recognition and includes a broad range of benefits. It was the vision of the Traditional Owner Negotiation Team to arrive at a settlement that would build a sustainable economic foundation for the traditional owners, ensuring their active participation in the regional economy, today and into the future.
Details of the benefits package remain confidential while the matter is in Federal Court mediation.
Having reached in-principle agreement, consultation and authorisation meetings will be held to seek authorisation from all the native title claim groups about the proposed settlement.
If authorised, the Indigenous Land Use Agreement will be submitted to the National Native Title Tribunal for registration.
Meanwhile, the native title claim groups will also be seeking a consent determination of Native Title in the Federal Court.
As stated by the Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
“The Yamatji Nation Southern Regional Agreement provides for strong governance and unprecedented opportunities for the State Government to work in partnership with the Yamatji people.
“The hard work and dedication of the claimants’ representatives, the Traditional Owner Negotiating Team, should be acknowledged.
“The 12-member team has, in a short time, negotiated a truly unique agreement, one that is likely to attract national attention.”
As stated by Fred Taylor, Chair of the Traditional Owner Negotiation Team:
“The Traditional Owner Negotiation Team would like to acknowledge the support of the State Government and specifically the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt and the Premier who have taken a keen interest in this matter.
“The Traditional Owner Negotiation Team are elated at the opportunities this presents.
“The ultimate decision to accept this agreement rests with the broader group of Traditional Owners who hold or may hold native title in the agreement area. They encourage all Traditional Owners in the settlement area to get involved in the consultation and decision making process.”