Aboriginal people in Western Australia have reached a deal ending native title claims over 48,000sq km in the state's mid west region, including the port city of Geraldton.
Ben Wyatt, the WA treasurer and Aboriginal affairs minister, announced that the state government had reached in-principle agreement which would settle claims by groups of the Yamatji Nation, Southern Yamatji, Hutt River, Mullewa Wadjari and Widi Mob.
The confidential deal involves Traditional Owners exchanging their native title claims for ‘a broad range of benefits,’ including economic and job opportunities.
Further consultation about the proposal will take place before the Federal Court of Australia decides if it will give the final approval.
Fred Taylor, chair of the Traditional Owners’ negotiation team, was “elated” about the opportunities the deal offers.
“The ultimate decision to accept this agreement rests with the broader group of Traditional Owners who hold or may hold native title in the agreement area,” he said.
“They encourage all Traditional Owners in the settlement area to get involved in the consultation and decision making process.”
The negotiations come four years after the WA government struck Australia's biggest native title deal with Noongar people in the state's southwest.