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Within the remote regions of WA there are up to 280 places that may be characterised as being Aboriginal communities in accordance with the definition of Aboriginal community in the Aboriginal Communities Act 1979.

The term is very broad; ranging from seasonal camps to small towns, and including areas within gazetted towns that have certain characteristics.

State Planning Policy 3.2 Planning for Aboriginal Communities was initially published in the Government Gazette on 11 August 2000. The WAPC commenced reviewing the Policy in October 2009.  During the course of the review it became apparent that not all Aboriginal communities needed a land-use plan.  Therefore, the term Aboriginal settlement was defined to clarify which Aboriginal communities would benefit from the preparation of a land-use plan.

State Planning Policy 3.2 Aboriginal Settlements was published in the Government Gazette on 11 May 2011, revoking the first published version. The Policy defines Aboriginal settlement as being: 'a discrete place that is not contiguous with a gazetted town, is inhabited or intended to be inhabited wholly or principally by persons of Aboriginal descent, as defined under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972, and which has no less than 5 domestic dwellings and/or is supported by essential services that are provided by one or more state agency(s)'. It is estimated that of the 280 Aboriginal communities in WA that up to 150 may be characterised as Aboriginal settlements.

The objectives of the Policy are:

  • To provide for the recognition of Aboriginal settlements through local planning schemes and strategies.
  • To collaboratively plan for the orderly and coordinated development of Aboriginal settlements.

The Policy is available from either the WAPC or the State Law Publisher.

Related Policies