Gilbert + Tobin advises on groundbreaking Burrup Peninsula agreement

Move supports collaboration on Indigenous land rights and development

Gilbert + Tobin advises on groundbreaking Burrup Peninsula agreement

Gilbert + Tobin has advised the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) on drafting a statement of intent to guide its negotiations with government and industry partners concerning an agreement initiative for the Burrup Peninsula, also known as the Murujuga Cultural Landscape.

This statement outlines a framework for future engagements among MAC, government entities, and industry representatives regarding their collaborative efforts to uphold the rights of the Traditional Custodians of the Burrup. It is aligned with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which stresses the importance of obtaining free, prior, and informed consent from First Nations people before proceeding with any developments on their lands.

In a news release announcing its work with MAC, Gilbert + Tobin said the agreement-making model is designed to foster a values-based partnership, ensuring equitable economic benefits and providing a clear process for activities conducted on the Murujuga Cultural Landscape.

The team that worked with MAC includes energy + resources partner Michael Blakiston, chairman and founder Danny Gilbert, and consultant Dalveen Belyea. Thomas Isaac, an Aboriginal law expert from Cassels in Canada, joined them.

“We are incredibly honoured to have played a role in this ground-breaking collaboration between MAC, Industry and Government on the Strategic Head Agreement-making project,” said Blakiston.

“This world-first achievement sets a powerful precedent for future collaborations that benefit all stakeholders and demonstrates the potential for positive change when diverse voices come together with a shared vision. We are immensely proud of the work our team has done on this historic matter, and we are confident that it will pave the way for a more equitable and sustainable future for all Australians. We look forward to continuing to support MAC and all stakeholders involved.”

Murujuga, which translates to ‘hip bone sticking out,’ encompasses the Burrup Peninsula, Dampier Archipelago, and the surrounding seascape.

MAC represents over 1200 members from five traditional custodial groups: the Ngarluma, Mardudhunera, Yaburara, Yindjibarndi, and Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo peoples. Established in 2006, it has since played a crucial role in helping these groups secure their country, lore, heritage, and traditions for subsequent generations.

The corporation also holds the freehold title to Murujuga National Park, which is notable for being the first national park co-managed by Traditional Custodians and the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

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