The YACMAC Story

The 13,940 square kilometre Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples application was lodged in August 1996. It was referred by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to the Federal Court for litigation in November 1997 when a mediated outcome could not be reached.

The claimants recognised the importance of having a legal entity that could undertake the business of their claim and pursue their wider interests. They decided that forming an Aboriginal Corporation would be the best way of meeting their needs.

YACMAC was incorporated with the then Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations on 16th February 1998.

In early 1999 the Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples had their right to negotiate with mining companies recognised by the Tribunal when their claim passed the new registration test.

The Group’s original claim covered an area that started north of Karratha at the Nickol River and south to the southern boundary of Peter Creek.

However, there has been several major developments with regard to the original claim.

Firstly, in 1998 the Kuruma Martuthunera Peoples made an overlapping claim over the southern part of the Yaburara and Mardudhunera Peoples claim. This meant that neither the Yaburara and Mardudhunera Peoples nor the Kuruma Martuthunera Peoples could have their claims heard until such time as the overlap issue was resolved’

The overlap area with the Kuruma Martuthunera Peoples remained contentious until early 2013 when there was agreement that an Inter Indigenous Agreement between the parties should proceed. This was signed on 17th June 2013 and has resulted in the Kuruma Martuthunera Peoples withdrawing their claim over the overlap area. It was presented to the Federal Court with an amended Form 1 on 28th June 2013 and accepted by the Court. The NNTT accepted the Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples amended Form 1 on 17th April 2014. The most significant aspect of this re-registration is that the claimant group has been amended from 16 individuals to the descendants of the 10 apical ancestors. On 4th July 2014 the Kuruma Martuthunera and Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples Indigenous Land Use Agreement was registered by the NNTT.

The second was in February 2000, when the State Government gave notice of its intention to compulsorily acquire native title rights and interests over part of the land on the Burrup Peninsula, and land on Intercourse Island, West Mid Intercourse Island and part of West Intercourse Island.

In April 2000 the National Native Title Tribunal commenced mediation of the negotiations between the State Government and the three groups that had native title claims over the designated areas. The Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples was one of the three groups with the other two being the Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo and the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi.

In January 2003 the Burrup & Maitland Industrial Estate Agreement was signed between the Contracting Parties and the State Government with the State Government agreeing to pay compensation to the parties through an Approved Body Corporate, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, in exchange for the groups relinquishing their native title rights. The compensation package comprises cash payments and a percentage of some Landcorp land releases around Karratha.

Lastly, in August 2007 the Federal Court granted native title over the northern part of the Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples claim area to the Ngarluma People and Yindjibarndi People thus pushing the northern boundary of the Yaburara Mardudhunera Peoples claim down to the Maitland River.