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Historic native title agreement paves way for economic development

Ord Final Agreement, East Kimberley

Acting Premier Eric Ripper signed the Ord Final Agreement on the shores of Lake Kununurra on October 6, bringing to an end one of the most complex and largest native title negotiations of its type in Australia.

The agreement resolves native title and heritage issues affecting approximately 65,000 hectares around Kununurra and Lake Argyle.
It was signed at a ceremony attended by more than 180 people, including Miriuwung Gajerrong traditional owners led by Ben Ward, the Kimberley Land Council and members of local indigenous organisations, government, industry and media.
Minister for the Kimberley and Fisheries Jon Ford MLC, Member for Pilbara, Central Kimberley Tom Stephens and Member for the Kimberley Carol Martin MLA also attended the ceremony.
Mr Ripper said the agreement removed a major impediment to growth and prosperity in an area that has struggled with high unemployment for years.

"We will work with the Northern Territory Government and the private sector to accelerate economic development in the East Kimberley, including Ord Stage Two," he said.
"The agreement ensures the Miriuwung Gajerrong people will have the opportunity to fully participate in the future development of the east Kimberley," he said.
He said the East Kimberley was one of the most disadvantaged areas in Western Australia and the agreement would enable jobs to be created as a result of agricultural, industrial and residential development.

Details of the agreement
What land is included?
Specific areas include:

  • Land for farmland at Green Swamp
  • WA M2 development area and environmental buffer
  • Irrigation farmland on the Ord River at Ord East bank
  • Irrigation farmland on the Ord River at Ord West bank
  • Land for irrigation farmland, tourism and rural residential uses at Mantinea
  • Land for Government purposes around Kununurra town site
  • New conservation areas in and adjacent to the Ord Valley
  • Land for new farmland on Packsaddle
  • Community purpose land at Yardungarrl
  • Community purpose land at East Kununurra
  • Community living areas
  • Residential and industrial expansion areas around the Kununurra town site
  • Land held under pastoral lease by Carlton Hill and Ivanhoe pastoral stations

What is in the final package?
The compensation package includes a range of initiatives
that focus on:

  • Developing the capacity of the Miriuwung Gajerrong people to engage in the local economy and benefit from any future development;
  • Improved land management of key areas in conjunction with the Miriuwung Gajerrong people.
The agreement is global, so benefits go to the community as a whole, into organisational development and trusts rather than to any singular person or group.

The major parts of the package are:

  • $24 million over 10 years to establish and operate the new Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation. This includes setting up a special Economic Development Unit and an Investment Trust;
  • $15 million value of land to be transferred to the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation including
Yardungarrl (50,000 ha) and 19 Community Living Areas. The figure includes a percentage of future land development;
  • $11 million for the Ord Enhancement Scheme to address the recommendations of the Aboriginal Social and Economic Impact Assessment of Ord Stage 1.

This includes enhanced social services to the northeast Kimberley;

  • $6 million to CALM to fund joint management arrangements for new conservation areas with Miriuwung Gajerrong.
  • $820,000 to cover the freehold establishment costs;
  • $381,000 to cover the establishment costs for the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation; and
  • $119,700 to Water and Rivers Commission to fund joint management arrangements for Reserve 31165.

Signatories to the agreement
The final agreement was signed by:

  • Hon Eric Ripper MLA, Acting Premier of Western Australia
  • Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLA, Minister for Lands,
  • Miriuwung, Gajerrong and Kidja law holders (kariel) and Dawawang
  • Miriuwung and Gajerrong Ord Global Negotiations Steering Committee
  • Miriuwung and Gajerrong #1 (Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate) Aboriginal Corporation
  • Miriuwung Gajerrong #4 Claimants - Paddy Carlton, Danny Wallace, Chocolate Thomas, Jerry Moore, Ben Ward, Kim Aldus, Frank Chulung, Nancy Dilyai, Sheba Dignari, Maggie John, Pamela Simon and Carol Hapke.
  • Kimberley Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • J.J McDonald and Sons Engineering Pty Ltd
  • Ord River District Cooperative Ltd
  • Consolidated Pastoral Company Pty Ltd
  • Carlton Hill Pty Ltd
  • Crosswalk Pty Ltd
  • Baines River Cattle Company Pty Ltd
  • Western Australian Land Authority and the
  • Conservation Commission ofWestern Australia

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