• Kariyarra Signatories at the signing on- COuntry signing in September 2017. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The Kariyarra people of Port Hedland are on their way to reclaim their land as the West Australian government begins the process of handing it back to its Traditional Owners.
Rangi Hirini

5 Apr 2018 - 4:45 PM  UPDATED 5 Apr 2018 - 4:45 PM

Today marks the first phase of the Kariyarra people’s native title agreement with the West Australian government.

After six years of negotiations, the Traditional Owners signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) in September 2017.

The agreement aimed to empower the Kariyarra people by creating a range of opportunities, including housing in South and Port Hedland, recognition and protection of certain heritage sites, and financial benefits.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) CEO, Simon Hawkins, said this first phase is evidence of what can be achieved when communities, governments and supporting organisations work together.

“This agreement shows the genuine cooperation between the Kariyarra people and the State. By working together, positive outcomes were able to be achieved that will benefit the community to create a better future for their people,” Mr Hawkins said.

West Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ben Wyatt, was present at September’s signing of the Land Use Agreement. Today he said the McGowan Government is committed to supporting the Kariyarra people.

Indigenous Land Use Agreements are a voluntary agreement between a native title group and others about the use of land and waters. These agreements allow people to negotiate flexible, pragmatic agreements to suit their particular circumstances.

An ILUA can be negotiated over areas where native title has, or has yet, to be determined to exist.

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