Country, Culture, People, Future


YMAC celebrates culture and Country during NAIDOC Week

Posted: July 5th, 2019

From 7 to 14 July during NAIDOC Week, YMAC celebrates culture and Country in the spirit of “Working together for a shared future”. Our staff and members will be participating in several events across the regions and we hope to see many of our members out and about celebrating NAIDOC Week.

On Sunday 7 July at RSL Birwood House in Geraldton, we are honoured to be invited to present a wreath at the NAIDOC dawn service to mark the week’s commencement.  Our staff will also proudly participate in Monday’s NAIDOC March and Mayors morning tea, followed by Streeties Big Breakfast on the morning of 10 July.

Another special moment to experience will be the opening ceremony of Carnarvon’s Cultural Centre on 8 July. Our Deputy Co-Chairperson – Yamatji Region Deborah Oakley will be representing the organisation, along with YMAC staff.  It will be a great moment to be there when the centre open its doors to share the stories of Traditional Owners with current and future generations.


YMAC News Issue 38

Posted: July 1st, 2019

The latest issue of YMAC News is available online, to download your copy click here



Your chance to nominate for the 2019 Regional Achievement and Community Awards

Posted: June 21st, 2019


A statewide search has begun through Western Australia’s communities to find nominees for the 2019 Regional Achievement and Community Awards.

The focus of the awards is to acknowledge and thank inspiring individuals, groups and local businesses who are consistently finding ways to enrich the lives of others around them.

It is the valuable contributions from these special people that help make regional and rural WA a better place to live and work.

To give thanks to someone you know you can nominate them into one of these categories:

  • Prime Super Business Achievement Award
  • Prime Super Employer Excellence in Aged Care Award
  • Horizon Power Leadership and Innovation Award
  • Insurance Commission of Western Australia Regional Safety Award
  • RAC Volunteering Award
  • Community TAB Community Service Award
  • Rinehart Development of Northern Regional WA Award
  • Curtin University, School of Education Teaching Excellence Award
  • Woolworths Community Group of the Year Award
  • Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
  • Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Economic Development Award
  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries Making a Difference Award

An example of dedication and tenacity to contribute to community is Yamatji local, Thomas Cameron who has been nominated for the Horizon Power Leadership and Innovation Award. Thomas has been recognised for his contribution to the Littlewell Working Group who have strived to preserve the heritage of the Littlewell Mingenew Aboriginal Reserve.

Nominations close Wednesday 10th July 2019. For assistance please feel free to call the Awards Office on 9201 1155 or email


Native Title Compensation – what you need to know

Posted: June 19th, 2019



As a member and contributor to the National Native Title Council (NNTC), YMAC is pleased to share the NNTC’s Compensation fact sheet  that offers some clear guidance on a complex but highly important topic – loss of culture and Country.

The fact sheet outlines some of the precedents set by the recent High Court judgment in te Timber Creek native title compensation case and points that claim groups should keep in mind regarding their native title.

Once you have read the NNTC information, YMAC suggests you also consider the following regarding compensation for mining leases.

Mining leases do not extinguish native title, but they can have a significant effect on Country as well as destroy significant sites, disrupt the environment and contaminate water. The High Court’s recent decision did not talk about compensation where native title is not extinguished. Further court decisions will help explain the considerations for native title mining compensation. The Native Title Act does provide the following guidance:

  • When determining compensation for a mining lease, the court must consider how compensation would be calculated if the mining lease was instead over freehold land. Each State and Territory has its own law saying how to calculate mining compensation.
  • Compensation can only be awarded against a mining lease once. If a mine causes significant disruption after an award of compensation is made, no further compensation claims can be made. A claim group should be aware of this before making a compensation claim against an operational mine.
  • States and Territories can pass laws making the mining companies liable for native title compensation for mining. Several States and Territories have passed these laws.
  • A claim group can seek compensation for mining leases granted after the Racial Discrimination Act commenced (October 1975).
  • In general, if a mining lease is granted through an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA), a claim group cannot seek compensation beyond what is in the ILUA.
  • A claim group can seek compensation for a mining lease if it was granted without an agreement. This includes if it was granted because at the time there were no registered claims, or determinations over the area, or if it was subject to a successful Future Act Determination Application in the National Native Title Tribunal.
  • It may be possible to make a compensation claim for a mining lease even if there was a Right to Negotiate agreement (also known as a s31 agreement). However most s31 agreements contain either:
  • a “set off” provision, which means that any subsequent compensation award to be reduced by any payments made under the agreement; or
  • a “full and final compensation” clause, preventing the native title party from seeking any additional compensation.

If you have any questions please contact your Native Title Representative Body.

Nanda Native Title Determination

Posted: May 9th, 2019

At an on-Country Federal Court hearing on 28 November 2018 at Kalbarri Foreshore in WA – the Nanda people were formally recognised by the Federal Court as native title holders, after a 24-year long legal process. About 300 people attended the hearing.

The Determination Area covers about 17,000 square kilometres of Nanda traditional country and encompasses: the town of Kalbarri, Kalbarri National Park, the Zuytdorp Nature Reserve and the Toolonga Nature Reserve. While all Country is important to the Nanda people, the area around the Murchison River is of particular significance as are Tamala and Coolcalalya. The Nanda people have negotiated the recognition of exclusive possession native title rights over important areas in the Determination Area. This includes land at paradise flats, around Bully, Wilgie Mia, Mooliabatanya and Syphon pools.

To view the Nanda native title determination video click on the link below.

Federal Labor’s funding boost for Caring for Country policy

Posted: May 9th, 2019


Photo: Malgana Country. Photo by Jose Kalpers from YMAC, with the permission of the Traditional Owners

A key election commitment has been made to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to protect our country’s most precious assets.  Federal Labor announced its Caring For Country policy over the weekend – if they win government they will double the number of Indigenous Rangers, and double the funding for Indigenous Protected Areas over five years, as well as support these programs over a longer term, awarding 6 year contracts.

These important programs enable Rangers and communities to place a greater focus on protecting biodiversity— animals, plants and other species —as well as to conserving cultural resources, like sacred sites and rock art.

This pledge recognises the importance of the role Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities as care takers of our country. Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) urges ALL political parties to at least match this level of commitment, and will hold all of them to their election promises.

To learn more about Labor’s commitment and policies, go here

YMAC celebrates 25 years

Posted: April 18th, 2019



YMAC 25 logo RGB HORIZ re sized


On 15 April 2019 Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) marked its 25th Anniversary since it was originally incorporated on 15 April 1994, under the name ‘Yamatji Barna Baba Maaja Aboriginal Corporation’. Full representative body status was achieved under the Native Title Act later that same year on 6 December.

Since it began operating, the Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) has seen thousands of Traditional Owners gain recognition of native title, and today, YMAC represents more than 20 Traditional Owner groups.

YMAC Co-Chairperson – Yamatji Region, Peter Windie said that native title determinations are a key focus for YMAC, and his big picture vision for all claim groups is to achieve determinations, reuniting every language group back with their Country.

“One thing Native Title has given us is the empowerment and ability to fight together for a common goal, and this has brought us closer together with other Traditional Owners,” Mr Windie said.

YMAC Co-Chairperson – Pilbara Region, Natalie Parker, said that having native title for all language groups recognised; helping people get back to Country; and passing knowledge onto younger generations was important.

“It means so much to me. Without our Country, our Mother, we wouldn’t be here. She is our provider and our keeper,” Ms Parker said.

A series of activities, and special publication to mark this quarter century of working alongside Traditional Owners to achieve recognition of Country are planned as part of YMAC’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli people celebrate native title

Posted: April 18th, 2019


Photo: Justice Bernard Murphy with the Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli people at the native title determination

At a Federal Court hearing on 16 April 2019 – at Gascoyne Junction, on neighbouring Yingaarda Country, WA – the Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli (Thin-mar, Worry-anga, Thuc-ari, Ji-warli) people were formally recognised by the Federal Court as native title holders.

The judgement made by Justice Murphy recognised the native title rights and interests held by the Combined Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli peoples’ in relation to the land covered by the Determination Area.

The determination area covers approximately 6,804 square kilometres of land lying within the Shires of Ashburton, Carnarvon and Upper Gascoyne.

The Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli people have maintained a traditional connection to this area since time immemorial, with a vibrant living culture maintained through stories, spiritual connections to the ancestors and Country, caring for and managing Country and waters, and by passing on traditional knowledge through each generation. Thiin-Mah Warriyangka Tharrkari Jiwarli people have a strong connection to their land and waters through their intrinsic local knowledge of its natural resources and the land.

Traditional Owner, Herbert Eagles, said, “We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, and I know that they would be proud that our connection to Country has been honoured today by the Federal Court.

“We can now look forward to the future and creating a legacy for our children and our children’s children,” Mr Eagles said.

Traditional Owner Ben Roberts added, “Today means everything – Ngurra – Country. It’s been a good journey with the people, we have walked together, and will continue to walk together every step of the way – to see a different world, to see a different future. This is for the past and the present, this is for the children,” said Ben Roberts.

To view the full media release click here

YMAC News Issue 37

Posted: March 26th, 2019

The latest issue of YMAC News is available online, to download your copy click here.

YMAC News Issue 37 Mail Chimp Cover