A Federal Court judge has formally recognised a native title claim in western Victoria.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
Determination: In effect - Finalised
Determination: In effect - Not Finalised
Determination: Conditional - Full
Outcome: Native title does not exist
Outcome: Native title exists (exclusive)
Outcome: Native title exists (non-exclusive)
Outcome: Native title extinguished
The Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (BGLCAC) administers land on behalf of the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk people of the Wimmera in Western Victoria. Their ownership was recognised by the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk Peoples No. 1 determination of March 2005.
This determination arose from three separate native title claims made between 1995 and 1999. These different claims were negotiated and settled between all 400 hundred parties. All parties agreed to recognise native title by:
formally allocating the traditional owners an advisory role in the management of some national parks and reserved land; and
transferring three parcels of culturally significant land.
This enables the native title holders to have their rights recognised on land tenures that ‘extinguish’ native title.
This agreement acknowledges that the traditional owner native title rights are based in their traditional law and customs. Those customs include following the teachings of Bunjil, as Uncle Jack Kennedy has said “if we follow Bunjil’s law and look after the country then the country will look after us” (at para 8,  FCA 1795).
This agreement was approved and affirmed by the Federal Court in March 2005. While making the determination, Justice Merkel acknowledged the “severe and extensive dispossession, degradation and devastation” Aboriginal people in the Wimmera had suffered due to the 19th century declaration of British sovereignty over their land and waters. This was the first time the Federal Court recognised native title in Victoria.
In addition to this determination, the BGLCAC also administers an Indigenous Land Use Agreement made between the state of Victoria, the Commonwealth, the traditional owners and itself. This agreement provides for an Indigenous contribution to land management in parts of the claim area.
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03 5389 1921
PO Box 1255, HORSHAM VIC, 3402
127 Wail Nursery Road, WAIL VIC 3401
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Victoria's historic in-principle native title agreement with the Wotjobaluk people has won surprise support from the Federal Government.
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