Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation Boundary Variation

On 6 February 2020, Council approved a request to vary the registration area boundary of the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation Registered Aboriginal Party

Registration as an Aboriginal Party

The Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) was first appointed as a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) in December 2013, following a Federal Court determination of native title. This determination found that the Eastern Maar People jointly held native title rights with the Gunditjmara People, represented by the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC) over an area of south western Victoria. The GMTOAC was also appointed a RAP in relation to this area in 2013.

Boundary Variation Area

EMAC has been appointed the sole RAP in relation to the new extended area. This area extends along the coast from east of Port Fairy to west of Anglesea and extends inland to include the Great Otway National Park and the townships of Warrnambool, Terang, Mortlake, Camperdown, Colac, Apollo Bay, Lorne and Cressy.

The EMAC extended RAP registration area is an important step in ensuring the fundamental purpose of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, empowering Victoria’s Traditional Owners to take control of their Cultural Heritage.

The extended registration area does not include the registration area of any existing RAP.

The extended RAP registration area for EMAC, illustrated below, constitutes an area of 17,880 km2 or 7.53% of the area of the state.

Section 155 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act

The variation of EMAC’s registration area was determined by Council under section 155 'Variation of Registration' of the Act:

  1. The Council may vary the registration of a registered Aboriginal party with the consent of that party and, if there are other registered Aboriginal parties for that area, with the consent of each of those parties.
  2. A variation under this section may include a variation to the boundaries of the area for which the registered Aboriginal party is registered.
  3. The Council must give written notice to the registered Aboriginal party and the Secretary of a variation under this section as soon as practicable after the variation is made.
  4. The Secretary must make any necessary amendments to the Register.

This section applies where an existing RAP seeks a variation of its registration, including the geographic area of the registration. In cases where a Traditional Owner Organisation is seeking appointment as a RAP for the first time, the application is considered by Council under sections 150 and 151 of the Act.

The variation of EMAC’s registration area is the most significant, but not the first, exercise of the power under section 155.

Reasons for Decision

Council publishes its Reasons for Decision following its next meeting.