Millions of dollars in native title money has begun to flow to the Yamatji Nation in Western Australia’s Mid West region, the state government says.
The group signed an Indigenous land use agreement in February, following negotiations that began in 2017.
The Yamatji Nation has established a charitable trust, with the government to contribute the first $10 million of a benefits package totalling approximately $500 million.
The money is part of a deal to resolve the government’s compensation liability for the impairment or extinguishment of native title over about 48,000 sq km of land.
The Yamatji Nation will have non-exclusive possession rights over parts of the former Barnong, Menai Hills and Kadji Kadji pastoral leases, land parcels near the Wanda Nature Reserve, Lucky Bay, and the Aboriginal Lands Trust areas in Carnamah, Kadathini and Eneabba.
A conservation estate will also be created.
The government says the Yamatji Nation Trust will receive $325 million in cash, as well as revenue streams from mining, and money to develop water resources.
It will also grant access to commercial property, housing, and business development funding.
In her native title judgement handed down in February, Justice Debra Mortimer said the Yamatji decision was important.
“This particular determination might be said to have special significance because of the widespread physical dispossession of the people of the Yamatji Nation from their lands (and) because of the complexity and challenges of the negotiations,” she said.