Recognition Settlement Agreement

The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 is a Victorian law which provides for an out-of-court settlement of native title and resolution of land justice.

The Recognition Settlement Agreement between the State and the Gunaikurnai people was the first to be made under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act.

The Act allows the Victorian Government to make agreements with Traditional Owners to recognise their relationship to land and provide for certain rights on Crown land and other benefits.

In return for entering into a settlement agreement, Traditional Owners must

agree to withdraw any native title claim they have pursuant to the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993, and to not make a claim in the future.

Traditional Owner groups may still pursue a formal determination of native title under the Native Title Act 1993, through the Federal Court process if they wish.

What does the Gunaikurnai Recognition and Settlement Agreement include?

The Agreement area extends from West Gippsland, near Warragul, east to the Snowy River and north to the Great Dividing Range. It also extends 200 metres offshore. The determination of native title under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) covers the same area. Both the Agreement and the Native Title determination only affect Crown land within this area.

The Agreement outlines:
– transfer of Aboriginal title over ten national parks and reserves to the Gunaikurnai people to be jointly managed with the State
– rights for the Gunaikurnai people to access and use Crown land for traditional purposes, including hunting, fishing, camping and gathering, in accordance with existing laws
– funding for the Gunaikurnai to invest in economic development and cultural strengthening opportunities and to meet their obligations under the settlement.
– an undertaking to develop protocols to recognise the Gunaikurnai people and strengthen the Gunaikurnai culture.

RSA Re-negotiation

GLaWAC are currently negotiating a review of our RSA and have prepared a report to help guide the process.

The RSA Re-Negotiations give Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners the opportunity to build on the Agreement put in place in 2010 after many years of hard work by our Elders.

It’s not about starting out again– it’s about adding to what we have, making it better and getting improved outcomes as we build our own capacity and capability to manage.

We will be convening meetings both face to face and online, based on Covid-19 rules.

First Principles Review

GLaWAC is working with other Traditional Owners and the state in reviewing the components of the Traditional Owners Settlement Act. This is separate to the review of the Gunaikurnai Settlement Agreement which our Elders and Board have commenced and has been previously shared in our members magazine.