Current status: The Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk Peoples and the State have agreed to negotiate a Recognition and Settlement Agreement.
Photograph sourced from Wikicommons . Photographer: Enguerrand Blanchy
The Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk Peoples (the Wotjobaluk Peoples) and the State have agreed to negotiate a Recognition and Settlement Agreement under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) (TOS Act). Such an agreement would recognise the traditional owner rights of the Wotjobaluk Peoples over a given area (Country) and can include associated agreements about the use and management of public land and natural resources, amongst other matters.
On 13 December 2005 the Federal Court made its first determination that native title exists in south‑eastern Australia. This recognised the native title of the Wotjobaluk Peoples in certain areas of the Wimmera and Southern Mallee. This was a ‘consent determination’, where all parties to the claim agreed to Federal Court orders recognising native title.
The 2005 native title settlement included an Indigenous Land Use Agreement recognising close ties to traditional lands and agreements to transfer culturally significant land parcels, licensing arrangements for hunting, fishing and gathering, a consultation process for Crown land use, and a Cooperative Management Agreement over areas including parts of the Little Desert and Wyperfield National Parks and Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, as well as funding for the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLC) (the Prescribed Body Corporate that represents the Wotjobaluk Peoples for native title purposes).
In 2013, the 2005 native title agreements were reviewed by the State and the BGLC. The report arising from the 2013 review recommended that the State and the Wotjobaluk Peoples consider future opportunities to enhance the 2005 agreements, such as by entering into a Recognition and Settlement Agreement under the TOS Act. Both the State and the BGLC supported the report’s recommendations and have been working to commence negotiations under the TOS Act since 2014.
In August 2017, the State formally approved entering into negotiations with the Wotjobaluk Peoples towards a Recognition and Settlement Agreement under the TOS Act.
Negotiation area for a Recognition and Settlement Agreement with the Wotjobaluk Peoples (a downloadable version is available at the bottom of the page).
Accessible description of map showing negotiation area for a Recognition and Settlement Agreement with the Wotjobaluk Peoples in western Victoria.
The boundaries of the negotiation area extend approximately from Ouyen in the north to Ararat in the south, and from the South Australian-Victorian border in the west to Donald in the east.
The negotiation area also includes a zone of negotiation with the Eastern Maar traditional owner group in the area between Glenorchy, Hall’s Gap, Stawell and Ararat.
It is bordered by:
- the Eastern Maar proposed negotiation area to the south
- the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Recognition and Settlement Agreement area to the south-east.
Guidance notes for land users and land managers
- The negotiation area The area that is the subject of negotiations towards a Recognition and Settlement Agreement between the Wotjobaluk Peoples and the State is shown on the map above. The negotiation area follows the external boundary of the 2005 Area Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, the State of Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia.
- Outstanding resolution of certain boundaries of the negotiation area Certain parts of the external boundaries of the negotiation area remain subject to further resolution, as indicated by the dotted lines on the map above. These boundaries are subject to the outcome of further agreement-making efforts between the Wotjobaluk Peoples and the Eastern Maar traditional owner group.
- Crown land where the Wotjobaluk Peoples’ native title was recognised to exist in 2005 Throughout the negotiation period, the State will continue to comply with the Native Title Act when proposing activities on Crown land where native title does or might exist. These procedural rights will continue to apply until a Land Use Activity Agreement under the TOS Act commences, as the alternative procedure, as part of the proposed settlement. For more information about the 2005 native title determination, please see the Court’s judgement in Clarke on behalf of the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk Peoples v State of Victoria  FCA 1795 .
Native Title Unit Department of Justice and Community Safety GPO Box 4356 Melbourne VIC 3001