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Ord Final Agreement Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)

Date: 16 August 2006
Sub Category:Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act)
Place:Kununurra and Lake Argyle, East Kimberley
State/Country:Western Australia, Australia
Legal Status: Registered with the NNTT
Legal Reference: National Native Title Tribunal File No WI2005/003
Alternative Names:
  • Ord River Scheme Native Title Agreement
  • Ord River Irrigation Scheme Agreement
  • Native Title Agreement between the Government of Western Australia and the Miriuwung Gajerrong Traditional Owners
  • Ord Final Agreement Indigenous Land Use Agreement
  • Subject Matter:Compensation | Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | | Native Title | Native Title - Extinguishment | Water
    Summary Information:
    The agreement known as the Ord Final Agreement was registered as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the National Native Title Tribunal on 16 August 2006. It is now known as the Ord Final Agreement ILUA.

    Originally the Ord Final Agreement ('the Agreement') was signed between the Government of Western Australia, Miriuwung Gajerrong traditional owners and various private sector interests on 6 October 2005. It brings to a close one of Australia's largest and most complex native title negotiations. The Agreement provides the necessary native title consents and heritage clearances over 65,000 hectares of land in the far north of Western Australia to make way for Australia's largest irrigation scheme. The Agreement consists of compensation for the 1960s Ord River Scheme. The Scheme saw parts of the historic Argyle pastoral station flooded to create Lake Argyle, thus dispossessing local Aboriginal people. It resolves the Government's compensation liability in respect of Miriuwung Gajerrong #1 (a native title Prescribed Body Corporate) and the Miriuwung Gajerrong #4 Native Title claimant group. The compensation package will also provide for the acquisition, extinguishment and impairment of native title over the land parcel in order to develop the second stage of the project which greatly expands the area covered by the Agreement.

    Under the registered ILUA, the parties consent to the granting of freehold title or leases by the State of Western Australia in parts of several scheduled locations, upon which granting native title is surrendered and extinguished. At the same time, the Agreement provides that the State will transfer to the newly formed Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation freehold titles in parts of other scheduled locations around the Packsaddle and Kununurra areas. The ILUA also provides for the parties' consenting to the transfer of freehold titles in New Conservation Areas to the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation.

    Detailed Information:
    The community-based agreement provides the requisite native title consents and heritage clearances for the second stage of the development of the Ord River Scheme. It envisages the creation of job opportunities in the agricultural, industrial and residential development industries.

    The Agreement makes provision for community benefits of (AUD) $24 million over 10 years to establish and operate the new Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation (The Age 2005). This will include a special economic development unit with an Investment Trust. In addition, $11 million will be provided for the Ord Enhancement Scheme to address the recommendations of the Aboriginal Social and Economic Impact Assessment of Ord Stage One via improvement of government services to Aboriginal people (Eric Ripper MLA 2005). Finally, $6 million will go to the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in order to fund joint management arrangements which will see CALM and the Miriuwung Gajerrong jointly manage six new conservation areas to be established under the Agreement. Arrangements for a joint management agreement are set to be finalised in 2006. The money will also fund arrangements for Aboriginal contribution to future development of Kununurra and of culturally sensitive areas being handed over under freehold title. Traditional owners will also be allocated up to 800 hectares of freehold land for leasing to prospective farmers.

    Under the Agreement, the developer of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme is obliged to negotiate an Aboriginal Development Package with the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation for the provision of employment before construction may commence.

    This Second Stage of the project expects to see the development of large-scale cropping on approximately 33,000 hectares of land which will be linked by irrigation channels to almost unlimited supplies of water from the artificially created Lake Argyle. This will effectively triple the area of land made available to agriculture in the 1960s under the first part of the Ord Scheme.
    The official ceremony for the handback of Yardungarrl land as freehold title to the Miriuwung Gajerrong people took place on 31 August 2007 (Boase 2007: 5; Office of Native Title, WA 2007). The 50,000 ha of land formed the largest freehold handback in Western Australia to that date.

    Related Entries

  • State of Western Australia - Signatory
  • Department of Conservation and Land Management (WA)
  • Miriuwung and Gajerrong #1 (Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate) Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC - Signatory
  • Consolidated Pastoral Company Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Carlton Hill Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Crosswalk Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Western Australian Land Authority (LandCorp) - Signatory
  • Kimberley Land Council Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Conservation and Parks Commission (WA) - Signatory
  • Baines River Cattle Co Pty Ltd - Signatory
  • Ord River District Cooperative Ltd - Signatory
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Regulations 1999 (Cth)
  • People
  • Ben Ward, Kim Aldus, Frank Chulung, Sheba Dignari, Maggi John, Chocolate Thomas, Danny Wallace, Carol Hapke, Nancy Dilyai, Pamela Simon, Jerry Moore and Paddy Carlton (Miriuwung Gajerrong #4 Claimants) - Signatory

  • References

    Media Release
    Eric Ripper MLA - Deputy Premier, Government of Western Australia (2005) Historic Native Title Agreement Paves Way for Economic Development
    Department of Environment (2005) Stage Set for Joint Land Management Agreement in the Kimberley
    David Weber (2005) Landowners Approve Biggest Australian Irrigation Scheme


    Native Title (Australia) | Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Future Act Agreement (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia)

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