Western Australia Noongar Land Agreement: A Milestone in Australia`s Indigenous Land Rights

The Western Australia Noongar Land Agreement is nothing short of a historic moment in the country`s Indigenous land rights movement. After years of negotiations and consultations with the Noongar people, the WA Government finally recognized the Noongar people’s unique spiritual and cultural connection to land and waters by granting them title to over 320,000 hectares of land in the South West of Western Australia.

The agreement was signed on September 8, 2021, between the Noongar people and the WA Government. It is the largest Native Title settlement in Australia’s history, covering a total of 30 towns and cities and affecting more than 200,000 people. The agreement is expected to bring significant benefits to the Noongar people, including economic development opportunities, jobs, and cultural tourism.

The Noongar people are the traditional owners of the South West of Western Australia, with a history spanning over 60,000 years. The land, which encompasses Perth and its surrounding areas, has long been a source of spiritual and cultural significance for the Noongar people. The Noongar people`s connection to the land has been recognized in the past, most notably in 2006 when they were granted Native Title over parts of the South West.

However, the Noongar people have been fighting for recognition and reconciliation for many years. The Noongar Land Agreement represents a significant milestone in recognizing their rights to the land and waters, acknowledging their cultural and spiritual significance.

The agreement is the result of a lengthy negotiation process between the Noongar people and the WA Government. The process began in 2008, with the formation of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council. The council represented the Noongar people in negotiations with the Government. The negotiations were complex and lengthy, with the council and the Government engaging in over 450 meetings over 10 years.

The agreement includes a $1.3 billion funding package over 12 years, which will be used for land management, conservation, and economic and cultural development programs. It will also establish a Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote economic opportunities for the Noongar people.

The agreement is an important step towards reconciliation in Australia. It recognizes the Noongar people`s rights to their land and waters, acknowledges their unique cultural and spiritual connection to the land, and provides economic development opportunities for the Noongar people.

The Western Australia Noongar Land Agreement is a significant achievement for the Noongar people and Australia`s Indigenous land rights movement. It is an example of what can be achieved when governments and Indigenous communities work together in a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation. It is hoped that the agreement will serve as a model for other Indigenous communities and governments to achieve similar outcomes.