A landmark settlement has now been authorised to resolve several native title claims in Western Australia’s mid-west.


On 8 and 9 December 2019, all people who hold or who may hold native title authorised the resolution of native title claims, at meetings held in Geraldton.

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

  1. Recognition, including the recognition of native title rights and other statements on recognition;
  2. 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;
  3. Land base, including the transfer of land in freehold or as reserves and agreements about water;
  4. Economic base, including land for economic development, funding for economic development and support for training and employment;
  5. Conservation estate, including the creation of jointly managed parks and the establishment of a ranger program; and
  6. Heritage and culture, including agreements about heritage management.

MPS Law has acted for the Widi claimants and Michael Pagsanjan has provided extensive legal and negotiation services to the traditional owner negotiators since the commencement of negotiations.

“Never before have native title claim groups embarked on such an ambitious process, including the innovative way information was presented and discussed before decision making.” says Mr Pagsanjan.

”All participants should be applauded for the effective deliberation of complex legal issues. It is the result of several years of mediations conducted by the Judicial Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia and culminated in the meetings in Geraldton earlier this week. The respect and unity displayed by native title claim groups is testament to the strength of the laws and customs of traditional owners. The outpouring of interest and support for the settlement, inspired by elders and community leaders – some of whom recently passed away – is truly awe-inspiring. I congratulate the parties and look forward to watching the next chapter of self-determination unfold, including the native title consent determination in 2020.”

For more information, contact Michael Pagsanjan (michael@mpslaw.com.au).