The Traditional Owners of this land are those who identify as
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Sovereignty was never ceded.

ANTAR pays respect to Elders past, present, and emerging through our dedicated advocacy for First Nations Peoples’ justice and rights.

ANTAR acknowledges the responsibility of committing to a truth-telling process that promotes an honest and respectful path forward for future generations to build upon.

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Treaty in Western Australia

Last edited: April 3, 2024

As of 2024, Western Australia is the only state in Australia not to have committed to ‘talking treaty’ with First Nations Peoples.

LATEST

  • As of April 2024, no dedicated treaty talks or processes are underway in WA.

BACKGROUND

In 2016, the Western Australian Parliament enacted the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016 (WA). This was the first piece of legislation in Western Australia to include the Noongar language and recognises the Noongar people as the
traditional owners of the land and their continued relationship with Country. It is sometimes considered ‘Australia’s First Treaty’, though it does not recognise the Noongar Peoples’ right to self-government.

Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016

Between January and March 2015, a series of authorisation meetings were held between the Western Australian government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) to approve a native title settlement which took the form of the 6 Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUA). The Agreement involved the Noongar people receiving a $1.3 billion package relating to land, resources, governance, finance and cultural heritage in exchange for surrendering native title rights and interests. The Settlement formally commenced on 25 February 2021.

As part of the Agreement, in 2016 the Western Australian Parliament enacted the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act 2016 (WA).

The Noongar agreement also included the transfer of 320,000 hectares of land to the Noongar nation over five years, and the granting of certain rights to land that was not transferred. Similarly to the Gunaikurnai and Dja Dja Wurrung settlements in Victoria, the Noongar people will be invited to co-manage land and resources in land outside their territory. A key element of the Settlement was enhanced socio-economic opportunities and increased employment. The settlement is the largest native title settlement in Australian history, affecting about 30,000 Noongar People and encompassing around 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi) in south-western Western Australia.

While the Noongar Settlement is itself not a treaty, it has important implications for future treaty talks and processes. In registering the comprehensive political agreement as six Individual Land Use Agreements, the Noongar Agreement shows that treaties can be achieved in a manner consistent with Australia’s existing public legal system. In other words, treaty making is achievable in Australia.

Further Reading

Treaty in WA Factsheet

To read a more in depth account of Treaty in WA, you can access our Factsheet here

Other links

Resources
Report
ANTAR Impact Report Read
Media Release
ANTAR Response to Closing the Gap Review Read
Media Release
Statement on the Vic Opposition dropping support for Treaty Read
Media Release
ANTAR Statement on the Referendum outcome Read
More
Treaty
Treaty What is treaty? Read More
Treaty Tracing Treaty in Australia Read More
Treaty Treaties elsewhere Read More
Treaty Treaty in the States & Territories Read More