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Land Council and Local Government Association sign historic native title MoU

In the biggest native title arrangement of its kind in Australia, representatives of 105 Western Australian local governments and the State's largest Indigenous community will today sign a (MoU) to benefit Perth metropolitan and South West areas. South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) Chairperson, Mr Murray Jones, and Western Australian Local Government Association President, Cr Clive Robartson, will sign the MoU at a ceremony in Kings Park, Perth at 2.30pm. Minister for Indigenous Affairs John Kobelke will witness the signing.
'I welcome this cooperative working relationship between Indigenous people and local governments because the Gallop Government is committed to delivering a fairer deal for all Western Australians,' Mr Kobelke said.
'The MoU sets out how the two bodies will work together to develop template agreements that will enable local governments to progress land management and land use objectives.
'Those agreements will come about through the development of a basic framework for planning processes, heritage protection, and raising the Noongar people's participation in local government,' he said.
The MoU is the result of six months of negotiations between the WA Local Government Association and SWALSC which consulted extensively with the Noongar community, with mediation assistance from the National Native Title Tribunal. The SWALSC represents the Noongar traditional owners in the South West region where 105 of the State's 144 local governments, represented by WA Local Government Association, are located. Noongars make up almost half the Indigenous population of the State. SWALSC Chairman Murray Jones said it was appropriate for the MoU to be signed during National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week celebrations.
'The MoU is about acknowledging the traditional owners as an important part of local government decision making and working with them for the benefit of everyone,' he said.
'This partnership is the key to creating strong communities in which we all have a future.'
Cr Robartson said the agreement was breaking new ground for local governments in Australia.
'The WA Local Government Association welcomes the development of the templates that will become a valuable resource to help local councils work collaboratively with their Noongar constituents.' he said.
The National Native Title Tribunal will contribute resources to assist both parties with the development of the template agreements. Tribunal Deputy President, Mr Fred Chaney, congratulated the parties for the goodwill they had shown throughout the process and acknowledged the role of former Tribunal Member, Mr Tony Lee, who mediated the MoU.
'The people involved throughout these negotiations have demonstrated strong leadership and worked to ensure the Noongar community was consulted with properly,' Mr Chaney said.
'Today's signing event highlights the historic effort by the Noongar People to reach a united position after a long history of dispersal and dispossession.'

External media contacts

Contact: Jo Fulwood, WA Local Government Association
Mobile: 0419 831 576

Contact: Tony Robertson, South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council
Phone: (08) 9386 8966

Contact: Ashley Malone, Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Mobile: 0408 957 785
Phone: (08) 9222 9211

Jo Fulwood, WA Local Government Association
(08) 9386 8966