South West Native Title Settlement to Proceed

On 26 November 2020, the High Court dismissed all special leave applications challenging the registration of six Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that form the South West Native Title Settlement (the Settlement).

The ILUAs were executed on 8 June 2015 by the WA Government, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and the relevant Native Title Agreement Groups: Yued, Whadjuk People, Gnaala Karla Booja, Ballardong People, South West Boojarah #2, and Wagyl Kaip & Southern Noongar groups.

The decision of the High Court means that all avenues for review of the Native Title Registrar’s decision in October 2018 to register the ILUAs, dismissed by the full Federal Court in late 2019, are now exhausted and no further legal proceedings can delay the commencement of the Settlement.

The ILUAs will become conclusively registered on 27 January 2021. The Settlement will commence within 40 business days of conclusive registration.

Six Noongar Regional Corporations representing the rights and interests of the six ILUA groups will then be established.

The future act provisions of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) will continue to apply over the Settlement areas until the ILUAs are conclusively registered and the Settlement has commenced. The future act provisions will cease to operate in the six ILUA areas 30 business days after Settlement commencement.

The Settlement recognises the Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the South West of Western Australia. It will resolve all native title claims in the South West in exchange for around $1.3 billion in land and other benefits for the Noongar people. It will provide significant opportunities for the Noongar people to achieve long term, self-determining, social, economic and cultural outcomes.

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The above news items are provided as general information in summary form of legislation and are not intended as legal advice.

Please contact us at McGuinnLegal if you would like further information or need specific advice in relation to any of these matters.