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Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (Jamukurnu-Yapalikunu/WDLAC) is the Prescribed Body Corporate for the Martu People of the Central Western Desert region in Western Australia.

On behalf of Martu People, WDLAC hold native title rights and interests, including the right to exclusive use, occupation and possession, which includes the right to control access, of 136,000 square kilometres of land within the Central Western Desert region.

WDLAC is extensively involved in numerous projects for the cultural, social and economic benefit of the current and future generations of Martu.

WDLAC Constitution/Rule Book: Download now

Federal Court Determinations
Martu Determination (Source: Federal Court of Australia, 27 September 2002)
Prescribed Body Corporate Determination (Source: Federal Court of Australia, 17 July 2003)

Further reading
Native title facts: What is a prescribed body corporate? (Source: National Native Title Tribunal)

Martu People

Martu are an Australian Aboriginal people of the Western Desert. Their lands include the Percival Lakes and Pilbara regions in Western Australia. They traditionally occupied a large tract of land; their neighbours to the east are the Pintupi.

Martu language groups include Manyjilyjarra; Kartujarra; Kiyajarra; Putijarra; Nyiyaparli; Warnman; Ngulipartu; Pitjikala; Kurajarra; Jiwaliny; Mangala; and Nangajarra.

Martu means ‘one of us’, or ‘person’. Traditional Martu language is called Martu Wangka, a Western Desert Language. The majority of Martu are bilingual with English as their second language.

Today, approximately 2500 Martu live in and around their determination area including within their established communities at Jigalong, Punmu, Parnngurr (Cotton Creek) and Kunawarritji (Well 33).

Martu Country

The Martu People of Western Australia are recognised as one of Australia’s only native title groups to have exclusive use, occupation, possession and control and interests over such a large area of land.

This native title determination is the first outcome of the campaign the Martu People have waged for more than 20 years to have their traditional rights and interests to the land recognised.

The Martu native title application sought acknowledgment of their rights and interests over 219000 sq kms of land in the western desert of the Pilbara region.

The determination of native title, which was made by consent of all Parties, recognises 136000 sq kms of the original Martu native title application.

The remaining areas yet to be determined include the Karlamilyi (Rudall River National Park), unvested reserves and some older mining leases and general purpose leases.

Martu Title

Martu have their exclusive use, occupation and possession of their determination area, including control over access within their determination area. Specifically the Martu hold the following Native Title Rights and Interests:

(a) The right to possess, occupy, use and enjoy the land and waters of the determination area to the exclusion of all others, including:

the right to live on the determination area;
the right to make decisions about the use and enjoyment of the determination area;
the right to hunt and gather, and to take the waters for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic, social, cultural, religious, spiritual, ceremonial and communal needs;
the right to control access to, and activities conducted by others on, the land and waters of the determination area;
the right to maintain and protect sites and areas which are of significance to the common law holders under their traditional laws and customs; and
the right as against any other Aboriginal group or individual to be acknowledged as the traditional Aboriginal owners of the determination area;

(b) the right to use the following traditionally accessed resources:

rocks and stones; and
flora and fauna,
for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic, social, cultural, religious, spiritual, ceremonial and communal needs; and

(c) the right to take, use and enjoy the flowing and subterranean waters in accordance with their traditional laws and customs for personal, domestic, social, cultural, religious, spiritual, ceremonial and communal needs, including the right to hunt on and gather and fish from the flowing and subterranean waters.