Our History

Native Title

During the 1990s, MG people claimed Native Title over two adjacent areas of the East Kimberley bordering the Northern Territory. Following a decade of protracted litigation, in 2003 and 2006, the Australian courts officially recognised that MG people have Native Title rights over land in specific regions of the East Kimberley.

The MG Prescribed Bodies Corporate, or PBCs, were established in April 2004 and November 2006 to represent MG people as a group and to manage their native title rights and interests in the determined areas.

Ord Final Agreement

In 2006, the MG PBCs, signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the Government of Western Australia known as the Ord Final Agreement (OFA), a broad package of measures which implemented a platform for future partnerships between the Miriuwung Gajerrong People, WA State Government, industry and developers for the benefit of the wider community and the East Kimberley Region.

The OFA included the transfer of freehold titles for several parcels of land to MG Corporation, as well as easement access, the establishment of new conservation areas and facilitating the development of the East Kimberley, along with several other clauses.

The OFA recognises the injustices of the past, in particular the ongoing impact of the flooding of Lake Argyle, whilst structurally shifting the MG People’s social, economic and political position for the future.

The OFA provides that this structural shift is to be achieved by the creation of a resourced Corporation, Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Aboriginal Corporation (MG Corp) which is to receive and manage the benefits to be transferred under the OFA.

See the full details here.

Ord Enhancement Scheme

The Ord Enhancement Scheme (OES) was established under the OFA as a new State Government program administered in partnership between the State of Western Australia and MG traditional owners. The purpose of the OES was to address the recommendations of the Aboriginal Social and Economic Impact Assessment Report prepared by the Kimberley Land Council in 2004 and issues arising as a result of the creation of Lake Argyle.

Since its inception, approximately $10 million in funding has been allocated to various Aboriginal and non-government organisations to deliver programs for the social and economic development of MG people, including in relation to health and well being, housing and infrastructure, education, training and employment, environmental and land management, family and community services, justice and community safety and culture and heritage. The following organisations received funding through the OES:

  • Wunan Foundation
  • St Joseph’s Catholic School
  • Kununurra District High School
  • Gawooleng Yawoodeng Aboriginal Corporation
  • Kununurra Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation
  • Save The Children
  • MG Corporation
  • Waringarri Aboriginal Arts
  • Mirima Language Centre
  • Gelganyem Trust
  • Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service
  • Clontarf Foundation

In 2012, the MG Dawang Land Trust used funding from the Ord Enhancement Scheme to secure additional funding from the Royalties for Regions program to construct 10 new houses on 10 of its community living areas to provide housing for MG people. The MG Dawang Land Trust worked closely with the Kimberley Development Commission to complete the project and negotiated a housing management agreement with the Department of Housing to provide for ongoing repair and maintenance to the majority of those homes.

With the OES funding due to come to an end in 2015, all remaining funds and programs were transferred to the Community Foundation Trust in 2013.

Key Milestones

2004 & 2006
Recognition of native title rights of MG people and establishments of MG PBCs

Ord Final Agreement signed

Establishment of the MG Rangers

MGC signed an Aboriginal Development Package with the State Government

Partnership with Many Rivers not-for-profit organisation commenced

Partnership with Jawun not-for-profit organization commenced

Establishment of Tertiary Scholarships Scheme

Establishment of MG Services division

Construction of 10 houses for MG people on Community Living Areas

Completion of MGC administration building in Kununurra

Establishment of MGC Building & Maintenance

MGC signed Aboriginal Development Package with Kimberley Agricultural Investments for Knox Plain

Agreement between MG Developments Trust and State Government to transfer freehold interest in Goomig farmlands to MG people.

Completion of Kurrajong Project – constructing four residential properties on MG-owned land in Kununurra

End of State Government financial assistance under OFA

Completion of the MG genealogies review

Negotiated the right to develop the Ord East Bank with the State Government

Acquisition of the Packsaddle Freehold Area and East Kununurra Freehold Area by Dawang Land Trust

Launch of the 100+ Jobs Initiative

MGC co-hosted the first Ministerial Forum in Kununurra

Repatriation of Miriuwung ancestors in Kununurra cemetery

MGCBM secures North West Aboriginal Housing Fund contract

MGC received sole vesting of Reserve 31165

Signed agreement to trial cotton crops on Goomig Lots 15 & 16

Signed MoU to bring a cotton gin to Ord Valley

Restoration of Bilbiljim to its ancestral name

Secured freehold interest of Goomig Lots 15 & 16

Harvest of first cotton crop on Goomig Lot 16

Return of 107ha of MG country and creation of Weaber Plain Road reserve

Signed MoU with Shire of Windham-East Kimberley

MGC named the first Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation to deliver the Target 120 program

Participation in Kununurra Regional Skills Summit