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Aboriginal Affairs News Update
February 2020


This Aboriginal Affairs News Update is produced by WALGA's Community Team, part of the broader WALGA People and Place Team. WALGA's Community Team covers a broad portfolio of issues including Native Title and Aboriginal communities, access and inclusion, multicultural communities, public health, mental health, environmental health, sport and recreation, culture and the arts, social infrastructure, youth and early years, community safety and tourism.

WALGA acknowledges the many traditional owners of the land on which we work throughout Western Australia. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

In this issue...

Aboriginal Heritage Information Session
Join WALGA and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for an update on the new Aboriginal Heritage Legislation for Western Australia which is currently being drafted.
Focused on areas of relevance for Local Government, the update will cover:
  • key elements of the new legislation
  • the new assessment and approvals pathway under the legislation, and
  • ideas for the development of support materials for Local Government to assist in compliance with the new legislation.
Date:      Monday, 23 March
Time:     10:00am to 11:30am (registration from 9:30am)
Venue:   ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade, West Leederville
Cost:      Free Event (registration is required)
RSVP:    Tuesday, 17 March
The Info Session will be broadcast via webinar. Register here.

Information about the review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act is available on the DPLH website.
For more information, please email Policy Officer, Community, Susie Moir or call (08) 9213 2058.
Community Development Officer - Aboriginal Engagement Network
The Community Development Officer - Aboriginal Engagement Network is a network of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Local Government staff working in reconciliation and Aboriginal projects, who meet quarterly to connect and share information and ideas.
Network meetings provide an opportunity for Local Government staff to share peer-to-peer advice and learnings, offer support and encouragement and explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration between Local Governments. Meetings are often attended by guests from other stakeholders to share information about new initiatives of relevance to Local Government, and to consult with the Network. Staff at regional Local Governments can participate via telephone.

WALGA is in the process of establishing an online platform for members of the Network to enable them to ask questions, share information and promote events.
If you are interested in joining the Network or the online platform, email Policy Officer, Community Susie Moir or call (08) 9213 2058.
Yamatji Nation Southern Regional Agreement (Geraldton Alternative Settlement)
Agreement has been reached for a comprehensive Native Title Settlement over Geraldton and the Mid West.
The agreement includes a $442 million package of benefits, plus approximately 100,000 ha of land, to support the sustainable social and economic development and self-determination of current and future generations. The innovative package includes funding for business development, the transfer of commercial land, joint ventures, tourism opportunities and access to housing properties for sale, leasing or development.

Additionally, there are revenue streams from mining and from leasing or sale of land in the Oakajee Industrial Estate, as well as a Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve for use or trade.

The benefits package also includes recognition of non-exclusive possession native title rights and interests of the Yamatji Nation over portions of the former Barnong, Menai Hills and Kadji Kadji patoral leases, parcels of land near the Wandana Nature Reserve, as well as Lucky Bay and eight Aboriginal Lands Trust properties.

11 Local Governments are located within, or partly within, the determination area.

The determination and signing of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement occurred on 7 February in Geraldton. Further information is available on the YMAC website.
For more information, email Principal Policy Officer, Aboriginal Policy and Coordination Unit, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Sheridan Webb or call (08) 6552 5352.
South West Native Title Settlement Update
Special Leave Applications Lodged with the High Court of Australia
On 16 January six special leave applications, one for each of the six Indigenous Land Use Agreements that form the Settlement, were lodged with the High Court of Australia. The applicants are seeking special leave to appeal to the High Court against the Full Federal Court's December 2019 decision confirming that the Settlement Agreements were correctly registered.

The WA Government, alongside the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, which represents the Noongar Agreement groups, are considering their responses to those applications. In the coming weeks the High Court will decide whether to accept or refuse the six special leave applications. 

The Settlement cannot proceed until all legal proceedings are resolved. The special leave applications will further delay the Settlement's commencement, at this stage until mid-2020.

In the interim, SWALSC and the WA Government continue to work together to prepare for the successful implementation of the Settlement Agreements.
For more information, contact the South West Settlement Implementation Team at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet's Aboriginal Policy and Coordination Unit.
Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy Consultation
The Western Australian Government is developing a strategy to guide how it works with Aboriginal people towards better social, economic, health and cultural outcomes.
To begin that conversation, A Path Forward: Developing the Western Australian Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy is a discussion paper that has been developed in collaboration with the WA Aboriginal Advisory Council and a range of Aboriginal organisations. Feedback on the discussion paper will help with the development of the final strategy, which will be formally adopted by the Government in 2020.

The discussion paper and further information is available here.

WALGA and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet hosted an information and feedback session for Local Government on Tuesday, 21 January which was attended by 40 representatives from 23 metropolitan, regional and remote Local Governments.

WALGA has developed a sector submission which will be available once endorsed by WALGA State Council in March. Submissions close on Friday, 28 February.
For more information, email Policy Officer, Community, Susie Moir or call (08) 9213 2058.
Positive Partnerships with Aboriginal Communities Forum 2020
WALGA is proud to present the Positive Partnerships with Aboriginal Communities Forum on Tuesday, 4 August.
Following on from last year's popular event, the full day Forum will focus on assisting Local Government to develop strong, ongoing relationships with local Aboriginal communities that recognise our shared cultural heritage, build community capacity and celebrate successes.

If you wish to express an interest in presenting at the Forum, or make a suggestion of a theme or topic, please let us know by emailing the Community Team.
Registrations will open in June.
Noongar Heritage Agreement for Local Government
WALGA continues to work with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to develop a Local Government specific Noongar Heritage Agreement.
The focus of discussions are on developing a Noongar Heritage Agreement for Local Government that is consistent with relevant Local Government legislative frameworks, procurement requirements and resourcing.

All State Government land users who wish to conduct an Aboriginal heritage survey within the South West Settlement Area are required to enter into a Noongar Standard Heritage Agreement (NSHA) with SWALSC. As Local Governments are not parties to the Indigenous Land Use Agreements under the South West Native Title Settlement, they are not bound to follow the NSHA. However, WALGA and SWALSC recognise that a consistent approach to Aboriginal heritage in the Settlement Area is important, and are therefore working together to develop an appropriate Heritage Agreement.

In the meantime, Local Governments are encouraged to follow the key heritage requirements of the NSHA including:
  • following the Aboriginal Heritage Due Diligence Guidelines to determine whether an activity may pose a risk to Aboriginal heritage and may require a survey
  • seeking the names of suitable Aboriginal consultants through SWALSC
  • consulting with SWALSC prior to making an application for consent to impact a site under section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, and
  • following the NSHA's prescribed schedule of fees, where appropriate.
Further information is available on the DPLH website and on the WALGA website. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is always happy to assist Local Government with heritage matters.
For more information, contact DPLH South West Settlement Heritage Team, or WALGA Policy Officer, Community, Susie Moir on (08) 9213 2058.
Contact the WALGA Community Team
Contact the WALGA Community Team:
Policy Manager, Community, Kirstie Davis, (p) 9213 2044
Senior Policy Officer, Community, Marissa MacDonald, (p) 9213 2074
Policy Officer, Community, Susie Moir, (p) 9213 2058
Policy Officer, Community, Bec Waddington, (p) 9213 2055

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West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
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