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.

The pillars of the Gunaikurnai RSA

This table shows our journey from our first RSA negotiation and some of the priorities moving toward this new one.

Early Outcomes

Throughout 2022, your RSA negotiating team has met with the state on nine occassions.
The negotiating team – Aunty Lena Morris, Aunty Glenys Watts, Aunty Julie Mongta, Uncle Lloyd Hood, Grattan Mullett, Pat Mullett and Troy McDonald – have recently agreed on a package of early outcomes, including:

> Four new joint managed parks
>> Freehold title of two properties in East Gippsland
>>> Funding to support Joint Management and the Gunaikurnai TOLMB

As deadly as these outcomes are, we’re not finished yet.

Negotiations will continue in 2023 and GLaWAC will be looking to hold meetings with our members to make sure your voice is heard as we continue the path to self-determination