History of Native Title in Victoria
The Yorta Yorta People lodged Victoria’s first native title claim in 1994. It resulted in a negative determination by the Federal Court in 1998 with Justice Olney ruling that the ‘the tide of history has indeed washed away any real acknowledgement of their traditional laws and any real observance of their traditional customs.’
The Yorta Yorta People appealed to the High Court, but the appeal was rejected in 2002.
However, in June 2004, the Yorta Yorta were recognised by the Victorian Government as Traditional Owners and entered into a joint management agreement over 50,000 hectares of Crown land in the state’s north including Barmah State Forest, Kow Swamp and areas along the Murray and Goulburn rivers.
13 December 2005: Native title was determined to exist for the first time in Victoria for the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples of the Wimmera.
30 March 2007: The Gunditjmara people were recognised as the native title holders for far south-west Victoria and a consent determination was handed down by the Federal Court.
23 September 2010: The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) came into effect. It provides an alternative to the settlement framework set out in the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). It was developed by the Victorian Government and Victorian Traditional Owners in acknowledgment of the unique difficulties Victorian claimants experienced in attempting to bring a claim under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).
22 October 2010: The Gunaikurnai were recognised as native title holders over lands in Gippsland in Victoria’s south-east, and they also signed the first agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic).
27 July 2011: The Gunditjmara and Eastern Maar peoples’ native title rights and interests were recognised for an area of their traditional country in south-west Victoria.
28 March 2013: The Dja Dja Wurrung and the Victorian Government reached a landmark native title settlement over lands in central Victoria by entering into a Recognition and Settlement Agreement under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic).