Country, Culture, People, Future

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I become a YMAC member?
Membership is open to all Yamatji and Marlpa people over the age of 18, even if you don’t live in the region. Show More
Membership forms can be downloaded here or by phoning our offices. The membership form requires the names of your spouse, parents and grandparents. This is so the Regional Committee and Board of Directors can verify that you are a Yamatji or Marlpa person. You also need a YMAC member from the same region or ‘class’ to nominate you by signing the form. Membership applications are considered at Regional Committee meetings and then submitted to the Board of Directors for endorsement. Show Less
How can I get more involved in the decisions that affect my native title claim?
There are several ways for Traditional Owners to get involved in their native title claim. Show More
  • Important decisions about the claim are made at community meetings. All members of a native title claim are invited to community meetings for their claim and asked to participate in making group decisions.
  • Working group members are chosen by the community. The working group makes many day-to-day decisions about claim business. It is the responsibility of all working group members to keep their families and other members of the claim informed about what is going on.
  • All YMAC members are invited to attend Annual Regional Meetings to discuss and ask questions about YMAC’s operations. Any eligible YMAC member may nominate for election to the Regional Committee.
For more information, download YMAC’s Community Guide or see the “Our Structure” page Show Less
What is YMAC’s involvement with trusts?
YMAC does not currently provide trust advice or professional trustee services. Show More
When claim groups require professional trust advice or the services of a professional trustee, YMAC assists in the tender process to help the group choose the best qualified professionals for their needs. Once a group has engaged a trustee, it is between the group and the trustee to deal with all trust matters. Show Less
What is the role of the Community Liaison Officers (CLOs)?
Community liaison officers (CLOs) play a vital role at YMAC with many responsibilities. Show More
They help make sure that the community understands how native title works and how they can participate in their group’s decision making. CLOs also make sure that YMAC staff and consultants understand about the community to avoid misunderstandings. If community members have any cultural concerns they can talk to their CLO who will explain the issues to their YMAC team to make sure culture is respected. CLOs also play a very important role when it comes to fieldwork, making sure everything runs smoothly and giving support to lawyers and anthropologists at meetings and on country. Show Less
Where does the money from heritage surveys go?
YMAC is a not-for-profit organisation and does not receive Government funding to protect Aboriginal heritage. YMAC’s cultural heritage services are supported entirely through cost recovery from companies and developers. Show More
All fees charged for the Traditional Owners on survey are paid directly to Traditional Owners. Administration Fees pay for YMAC’s costs to organise surveys such as staff, rent, telephones and stationary. Any additional funds generated are put back into native title work. Where does the money from heritage surveys go? *the above is based on 2010/11 financial year Show Less
Does YMAC make money from heritage surveys and agreement negotiations?
YMAC is a not-for-profit organisation. A significant amount of YMAC’s funding comes from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). Show More
Some of YMAC’s services, like heritage survey coordination and large-scale agreement negotiation, are not provided for by our funding from DPMC. YMAC provides these services by charging the companies who use them. Any additional funds generated by these services are put back into YMAC’s native title work. For more information, please download our latest annual report. Show Less
Who sees the information my family provides to YMAC?
YMAC never makes any cultural information public without the permission of the appropriate Traditional Owners. Show More
Much of the information collected by YMAC for the purposes of trial preparation, Connection Reports and supporting material is very sensitive for cultural or family reasons. YMAC takes its responsibility to keep information confidential very seriously. However, in order to assess the native title claim, certain people within YMAC, including anthropologists and lawyers, as well as people working for the State Government, need to see sensitive information that has been provided by traditional owners. If a claim goes to trial, some people in the Federal Court will also need to see all of the information, including the Judge. YMAC ensures that any cultural information that is gender-restricted (secret men’s or women’s knowledge) is only seen by people of the appropriate gender. If the court orders an exception to that rule, the Traditional Owners get to decide whether to allow the information to be seen or withdraw it. Show Less
What is a connection report and where does it go?
A connection report is given to the State Government as evidence of a native title claim group’s connection to country. It is required by the State before it will agree to work towards resolving a native title claim by agreement (instead of going to court). Show More
A connection report is given to the State Government as evidence of a native title claim group’s connection to country. It is required by the State before it will agree to work towards resolving a native title claim by agreement (instead of going to court). A connection report needs to be authored by a qualified professional, usually an anthropologist, and it includes information about a group’s history, rules of membership, law and custom, and cultural knowledge. It is often accompanied by other materials like videos, photographs, genealogies (family trees) and site maps. Once it is given to the State Government, their experts read it carefully and then come to a decision whether or not to accept that the claim group has native title. For more information about connection reports, the research process, and the State’s assessment process, download a copy of YMAC’s community guide or view the WA State Government’s connection guidelines. Show Less
What does a native title determination get you?
A native title determination is recognition under Australian law that Aboriginal people are the Traditional Owners of the land and had a system of law and ownership of their land before European settlement. Show More
Common examples of rights that are recognised in a determination are:
  • The right to protect sites
  • The right to access or hunt on country
  • The right to camp or live on the land
  • The right to hold ceremonies
  • The right to have a say in the management or development of the land
Native title gives the right to negotiate over mining leases and certain infrastructure projects. It does not give the right to veto or a refuse a mining lease. A native title determination does not give ownership of the land (see above, ‘How is native title different to land rights?’) The rights that are recognised depend on what rights have existed under traditional law. Every native title claim group has to list the rights that they are claiming, so it is slightly different for each group. The existing rights of other people, companies or governments affect what is included. In some areas, the native title holders may have exclusive rights, while in other areas, rights to the land are shared with others, such as leaseholders, miners, pastoralists, or the State Government. Show Less