The Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Bill is an important component of the Native Title settlement package that has been negotiated between the WA State Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC).
SWALSC is the Native Title Rep Body for the people of the South West of WA, who are collectively described as Noongar People. This settlement arises from the 2006 Federal Court Decision of Justice Willcox who found that Noongar people had maintained their culture and, hence found in favour of Noongar Native Title. While this shocked the the Labor Deputy Premier, Eric Ripper, who set out to appeal the Willcox decision. The subsequent Liberal Premier, Colin Barnett, sought to negotiate a Settlement with the Noongar people.
While it will probably take a generation to assess and evaluate whether the agreed settlement was adequate recompense for the loss of lands and other benefits; six regional and representative meetings, after considerable debate, all endorsed proceeding with the settlement package and process.
The agreed settlement document, could and should rightly be called a ‘treaty’ between the State of WA and the Noongar Nation. It should also be argued that the this is an acknowledgement of Noongar ‘sovereignty’. We are yet to see these ideas emerge and unfold in the in the public discourse.
ABC coverage of the Bill with comments from the Premier and people from the Noongar community can be read here.