Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Landmark native title achievement

The native title agreement reached this week between the Yawuru people of Broome and the West Australian Government is a landmark achievement with the potential to bring enormous economic and social benefits to both local Aboriginal people and the wider Broome community.

The agreement, valued at $196.6 million, will lay the foundations for the economic future of the Yawuru, and will allow for the expanded development of land in and around Broome over the next three decades.

The agreement provides for financial benefits to the Yawuru of $56m for a range of economic, social and heritage protection measures. It also includes the transfer to the Yawuru of land valued at $140.6m.

The agreement was finalised at a signing ceremony yesterday in Broome attended by West Australian Government ministers and Yawuru negotiators Pat Dodson and Peter Yu and Frank Sebastian.

The Yawuru native title holders and the WA Government are to be congratulated for their far-sightedness and patience over the course of these negotiations.

The Native Title holders have worked through the negotiation process to secure an outcome that has the potential to deliver benefits for generations to come.

The agreement is an example of how persistence and hard work can ensure that the interests of the traditional owners and those of the broader community can be aligned to produce positive outcomes.

The results speak for themselves – a benefits package that reflects the Yawuru commitment to ensure inter-generational benefits which will improve the lives of local Indigenous people, through economic development, social housing and cultural and heritage preservation.

The Australian Government supports the development of new approaches to encourage the resolution of native title claims through negotiation rather than resorting to litigation – so that claims can be resolved quickly and amicably.