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About Central Desert

Central Desert, incorporated in April 2007, is a Native Title Service Provider for the Central Desert Representative Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander Body (RATSIB) Area in WA.

The corporation is funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) to carry out functions under section 203FE of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA).

The Central Desert team has supported more than 30 determinations and achieved many ‘firsts’ with clients since incorporation; And has since developed its focus to work with clients in the post determination phase, including compensation claims and advancing sustainability via the Central Desert Group which includes:

Rockhole Funds Management (RFM)

Rockhole Funds Management Pty Ltd (RFM) established in 2013.

Desert Support Services (DSS)

Desert Support Services Pty Ltd (DSS) commenced operations in 2011

DABS

Desert Accounting and Business Services Pty Ltd (DABS) established in May 2021.

Central Desert Native Title Services

The Central Desert team of Legal, Research, Heritage, GIS, and Operational Support.

Our four entities work closely but independently of each other, and in partnership with clients to build capacity and capability of Prescribed Bodies Corporate.

Central Desert Timeline

Key events of Central Desert's operations and Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.

  • November 2023
    Upurli Upurli Nguratja Native Title determined, by consent.
  • September 2023
    Central Desert launches a refresh of the brand, Strategic Plan and Values
  • May 2023
    Tjiwarl ILUA compensation is settled, providing a new national standard for compensation settlements.
  • June 2022
    Pila Nature Reserve Native Title was determined along with the compensation settlement agreement. It was the first claim filed and determined in Australia under section 47C of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) which agrees to disregard prior extinguishment, and confirm recognition, of native title over park areas.
  • November 2021
    Nangaanya-Ku Part A Native Title was determined by consent.
  • November 2020
    PBC’s Corporate governance services was bought back into Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd. DSS focused on supporting land management activities.
  • July 2020
    Untri Pulka Native Title was determined by consent as exclusive possession. The Untri Pulka claim was lodged in September 2019, making it one of if not the fastest determinations of native title in WA, if not Australia.
  • October 2019
    Kultju Native Title was determined by consent.
  • October 2018
    Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi Native Title determined by consent as exclusive possession.
  • September 2018
    Manta Rirrtinya Native Title was determined by consent, consisting almost entirely of exclusive possession.
  • December 2017
    Gingirana # 1 Native Title was determined by consent, includes exclusive possession of one third of the determination area.
  • September 2017
    Yilka and Sullivan/Edwards native title claims were determined by litigation.
  • August 2017
    Ngurra Kayanta Part B Native Title determined by litigation as exclusive possession.
  • 1 July 2017
    All non-statutory functions of Central Desert were transitioned into its wholly owned subsidiary, Desert Support Services.
  • April 2017
    Tjiwarl Native Title claims were determined via litigation.
  • August 2016
    Ngurra Kayanta Part A Native Title determined by consent as exclusive possession.
  • June 2016
    Birriliburu Part B Native Title determined by partial litigation as exclusive possession. Claim # 3 was also determined by consent.
  • February 2016
    Central Desert’s services to Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBC) were separated from the statutory functions team to create a new PBC and client services team within Central Desert.
  • 2015
    Central Desert Group established comprised of Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd and two wholly owned subsidiaries; Desert Support Services Pty Ltd and Rockhole Funds Management Pty Ltd.
  • December 2014
    Pilki People Native Title was determined via litigation. This determination created a precedent in Native Title law regarding commercial use of resources granted through Native Title..
  • September 2013
    Wiluna 2 Native Title was determined by litigation. Traditional Owners succeeded in obtaining exclusive possession rights.
  • July 2013 Wiluna
    July 2013 Tarlpa and Wiluna #1 Native Title was determined by consent.
  • July 2013
    Rockhole Funds Management Pty Ltd (RFM) established to provide money management and financial services.
  • May 2013
    Martu Part B and Karnapyrri Native Title determined, by consent to hold as exclusive possession.
  • April 2013
    Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is declared in the Little Sandy and Gibson Deserts of Western Australia. It is roughly the size of Tasmania. The Birriliburu Traditional Owners are the Martu people, whose traditional, ecological and cultural knowledge stretches back more than 40,000 years.
  • 2011
    Desert Support Services Pty Ltd (DSS) commenced operations. Central Desert staff are seconded for services to provide corporate governance, capacity building, natural resource and land management services and also offers accounting, bookkeeping, human resources and employment services to native title claimants and native title holders.
  • June 2008 Ngaanyatjarra Lands Part B
    Native Title determined, by consent. This resolved all parts of the claim area.
  • June 2008
    Birriliburu Part A Native Title determined, by consent.
  • CSR 2008
    2008 Canning Stock Route project- Central Desert became a key partner in a project coordinated by the Australian National University (ANU) in relation to a proposed management plan for the Canning Stock Route (CSR). CD, Kimberley Land Council and JYAC facilitated the establishment of a pan-Indigenous working group for the project.
  • June 2005
    Ngaanyatjarra Lands Part A Native Title determined, by consent.
  • September 2002
    Martu Part A Rudall River National Park (Karlamilyi) Native Title Determined, by consent, granted exclusive possession.
  • October 2001
    Kiwirrkurra Native Title determined, by consent, granted exclusive possession.
  • August 2001
    Tjurabalan Native Title determined, by consent, granted exclusive possession.
  • November 2000
    Spinifex Native Title determined, by consent. This was the first consent native title determination in Western Australia following commencement of the NTA 1993, and the largest and strongest with respect to recognition of rights and interests in land yet granted in Australia at the time.
  • 1998
    The Ngaanyatjarra Council is tasked to carry out Native Title representation for communities in their area, via a native title unit.
  • December 1993
    Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA) is enacted with retrospective application from 1 July 1993
  • 3 June 1992
    The High Court of Australia recognised that a group of Torres Strait Islanders, led by Eddie Mabo, held ownership of Mer (Murray Island). In acknowledging the traditional rights of the Meriam people to their land, the court also held that native title existed for all Indigenous people.
  • October 1975
    Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) comes into effect. The Act prohibits someone being treated less fairly than someone else in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
  • May 1967
    A referendum gives the Commonwealth power to make laws overriding states for Aboriginal people, Aboriginal people to be counted in the census along with other Australians.
  • 1962
    Commonwealth Electoral Act gave “to Aboriginal Australians the right to Enrol and to Vote as Electors of the Commonwealth. All State Governments eventually follow in allowing the vote.
  • 1905 - Aborigines Act
    The Act created the position of Chief Protector of Aborigines who became the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child to the age of 16 years, and permitted authorities to 'send and detain' Aboriginal children in institutions and in 'service' (work)

Corporate Structure

Central Desert's Constitution

Our Values

Our Values were developed by our staff at our 2023 All Staff Workshop. They will guide our focus and behaviours for the coming years. 

Strategic Plan

In 2023 Central Desert invested time and resources in considering our role in the post-determination environment.

What we recognise is that Native Title brings opportunity and challenges with it, and it is Prescribed Body Corporates (PBCs) that are positioned as central to unlocking opportunity.

This awareness drives the strategic outlook and operations of Central Desert - Our Purpose; Our Strategic Elements; the outcomes we strive for in partnership with our clients; guided by Our Values.

Our Logo Story

Our Values have been developed by our staff at our 2023 All Staff Workshop. They will guide our focus and behaviours for the coming years. 

Central Desert’s identity has long been associated with spinifex. 
 
It is part of our history – it grows throughout the region in which we work and was the name of the very first Native Title claim settled in Western Australia in 2000. 

The needs of native title groups are evolving, as is the work of Central Desert. And so, we felt it time for our appearance to evolve. 

Our icon signifies the rising sun behind tjanpi (spinifex) grass that is found throughout the region which Central Desert works.

Tjanpi is iconic to the region in which we work. It is also a source of economic opportunity for people to live on and work for their Country, and be connected to their culture and stories.

Our brand colours are inspired by desert country - the deep blue sky, ochre red earth, the greens of new growth, and of course the rising sun.