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The former Swan Districts Hospital site.

State signals intent for Swan Hospital site

EXCLUSIVE

THE State Government has confirmed its intent for the future of the Swan Districts Hospital site, adding the land to the largest Native Title claim in history.

Earlier this week, a State Government spokesperson confirmed the former Swan Districts Hospital site, at Lot 570 and Lot 567 Eveline Road and Lot 571 Great Northern Highway in Middle Swan has been committed to the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC), a Native Title representative body, as part of the South West Native Title Settlement.

Swan Districts Hospital opened on September 22, 1951 as a 25-bed maternity hospital, expanding to a 193-bed capacity with an emergency department and outpatient services.

It was closed on November 24, 2015 following the opening of St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals, and the future of the 11ha site has been the subject of speculation ever since.

The South West Native Title Settlement is the largest and most comprehensive agreement to settle Aboriginal interests over land in Australia.

The Settlement, involving six Noongar Native Title Agreement Groups, and covering 200,000 square kilometres of land, represents significant social and economic investment in the Noongar community and the shared future of Western Australia.

On June 8, 2015, after extensive negotiations, and authorisation by the Noongar people, the Western Australian Government signed the six South West Native Title Settlement Agreements with the Ballardong, Gnaala Karla Booja, South West Boojarah, Wagyl Kaip  and Southern Noongar, Whadjuk and Yued groups.

The Full Federal Court unanimously confirmed that the Native Title Registrar was correct in registering the six South West Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreements on December 16.

Six special leave applications were lodged in the High Court on January 16, with the High Court still to decide if it will accept the appeals.

If it does not, the legal process will come to an end and the business end of the settlement will begin.

As part of the settlement, up to 320,000ha of State land will be transferred to the Noongar Boodja Trust for development and cultural purposes.

The Whadjuck Regional Corporation, which will be created once the settlement process begins, will advise the Trust on the acceptance and use of the land in the metropolitan area, which would include the former hospital site.

However Echo News understands that despite the State Government’s commitment of the site, the SWALSC is yet to formally accept the land as part of the settlement.

The land is identified as a contaminated site, and early estimates put the cost of demolition, decontamination and remediation at around $2 million.

On April 7, the City advertised a proposed scheme amendment from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

The Scheme Amendment proposed multiple rezonings for the site, including rezoning 0.49ha of land abutting La Salle College for educational or boarding purposes, the main campus to be rezoned for aged-care development opportunities, the vacant land between St Johns Ambulance, Black Adder Creek and the clinic be rezoned to Residential with a R20 density and for the foreshore area around Black Adder Creek be made public open space for recreation.

City of Swan acting chief executive Kym Leahy said the City understood the State was always intending to dispose of the land.

“The City will work with any future owner or manager of the site to ensure a good outcome for our community.

“We have not been notified about a decision to include this land in the South West Native Title Settlement.”.

“The City has confirmed with the applicant (DPLH) this week that at this time, there is no intention to change the zone or purposes sought.   

“We support the landmark South West Native Title Settlement which recognises our Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the south-west region, which will bring many opportunities and benefits for our Noongar community.”

The SWALSC have declined to comment until the full legal process has been completed.

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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