High Court challenge to $1.3b native title deal


A group of Noongar people opposed to an historic billion-dollar native title deal with the Noongar people and the West Australian government have launched legal action in the High Court to try to stop the agreement.

Action has begun in the High Court to try to stop a native title deal that could be worth $1.3 billion to the Noongar people of the south west of Western Australia.

The challenge is by other Noongar native title claimants who say they did not agree to the deal with the WA government to relinquish native title rights in return for a $1.3 billion compensation package.

The package would include land and funds for a trust to be managed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders.

In return, the Noongar people would give up their native title claims over the south west of the state including Perth city.

Native title claimant Margaret Culbong said the consultation process was flawed and those opposed to the deal weren’t given the opportunity to object.

“It was manipulated by the staff and the people who belong to the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council because they’d already signed off on the deal with the government and they just took it out to the people for the people to sanction it, or authorise,” she said.

“It wasn’t on.”

The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council was not able to comment on the legal action, but its chief executive officer Glen Kelly has previously said the Noongar people were widely consulted on the deal.

A spokesperson for the WA government said both parties would continue to finalise the agreement while any legal proceedings were under way.

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