In-principle agreement reached for landmark deal in WA’s mid-west

An in-principle agreement has now been reached between the negotiating parties for the resolution of several native title claims in Western Australia’s mid-west.

MPS Law joins the Western Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs the Honourable Ben Wyatt in congratulating the parties on reaching an in-principle agreement. The Minister’s statement is available here.

MPS Law is honoured to continue advising native title claimants on the proposed resolution of native title claims in Western Australia’s mid-west, covering an area of approximately 48,000 square kilometers; an area larger than European nations like Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland.

“The process has its challenges and a significant amount of work has been undertaken to reach an in-principle agreement. The opportunities, if the agreement is authorised and registered, will be the yard-stick for agreement making with First Nations in Australia, setting new benchmarks on self-governance, economic development and heritage management” says Mr Pagsanjan, the lawyer for one of the native title claims.  

Details remain confidential and the matters continue to be the subject of mediation by a Judicial Registrar of the Federal Court, but according to the joint report filed in the Federal Court, key topics in the agreement are:

a.      Recognition, including the recognition of native title rights and other statements on recognition;

b.      Governance structures, including mechanisms for partnerships with Government and the establishment of a single corporate entity and associated entities to represent all Traditional Owners within the settlement area;

c.      Land base, including the transfer of land in freehold or as reserves and agreements about water;

d.      Economic base, including land for economic development, funding for economic development and support for training and employment;

e.      Conservation estate, including the creation of jointly managed parks and the establishment of a ranger program; and

f.       Heritage and culture, including agreements about heritage management.

The next step is for all people who hold or who may hold native title to decide whether to accept the agreement. MPS Law strongly encourages native title claimants and all people who hold or who may hold native title in the proposed agreement area to participate in the authorisation process.

For Aboriginal people who identify as Widi, or, for Aboriginal people who assert native title interests in the current Widi Mob native claim area (WAD31/2019), enquiries can be directed to MPS Law.

For more information, please contact Michael Pagsanjan at michael@mpslaw.com.au.