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Barry Winmar (SWALSC Director); Vanessa Kickett (SWALSC Chairperson); Hon Stephen Dawson MLC (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs); Angela Elder (Department of Premier and Cabinet).

Kalamunda offer land into Native Title

By Melissa Sheil

KALAMUNDA Council have supported the transfer of three parcels of land into Noongar ownership ahead of a signing ceremony to progress the South West Native Title Settlement this week.

At last week’s meeting, Council supported the transfer of two lots on Lawnbrook Road West in Walliston and one on Winsor Road in Kalamunda into the Noongar Land Estate.

City of Kalamunda mayor Margaret Thomas said the transfer was a significant symbolic gesture in reconciliation with the Whadjuk Noongar people.

“We recognise the importance of native title transfer and the many benefits that come from returning ownership and management of local land to traditional owners,” she said.

“We are supportive of all initiatives that create positive social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits for the community and assist us to achieve our collective vision for reconciliation, walking together to ensure a strong future.”

Both Walliston sites are designated as unallocated Crown land and the Kalamunda site is designated reserve.

While it supported the transfer, the Council report noted the City wished to maintain the sites as parks and recreation and to protect mature vegetation.

A signing ceremony was held at Government House on Monday to establish the Noongar Boodja Trust and appoint Perpetual Trustee Company as the initial Noongar Boodja Trustee.

The ceremony marked a new partnership between the State Government, Noongar people and Perpetual Trustee Company, to support Noongar empowerment and deliver long-term social, cultural and economic opportunities through the Settlement.

The Settlement is the most comprehensive Native Title agreement negotiated in Australian history.

It involves around 30,000 Noongar people and covers about 200,000 square kilometres of the South-West region.

Among other things, the Settlement also includes a recognition bill and yearly instalments of $50 million to the Noongar Boodja Trust for 12 years.

The Trust, along with local Noongar Regional Corporations, will be responsible for management and holding of the land on behalf of the Noongar people.

Under the Settlement, land can be used for two purposes, development of housing, schools and commercial centres or for cultural or conservation purposes.

South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) chairperson Vanessa Kickett hopes other local governments continue to support land transfers.

“SWALSC welcomes the support of local governments for the implementation of the negotiated agreement between the Noongar people and the State of Western Australia and look forward to working closely with them over the coming years,” she said.

“The path to date has brought many challenges, but we remain focused on honouring the vision of our ancestors, our elders and our communities, whose guidance and dignity inspire us to be strong and proud.”

The process of sending formal land offers to the Noongar Boodja Trust began earlier this month.

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