A review of Indigenous involvement in water planning, 2013

Untitled-1The National Water Initiative maps out Australia’s water management objectives including objectives for Indigenous access to water resources. It calls for Indigenous representation in water planning processes, the incorporation of Indigenous social, spiritual and customary objectives in water plans, and the integrated management of environmental water to achieve environmental other public benefit outcomes, including Indigenous and cultural values. This review:

  • helps better understand the arrangements that jurisdictions have in place to meet Indigenous water needs
  • assesses the effectiveness of jurisdictional water planning and management arrangements in meeting Indigenous needs
  • provides adequate background to highlight the extent to which jurisdictional water planning and management arrangements meet Indigenous access to water commitments.

The review finds that, while approaches are variable, most Australian governments have made significant advances in recognising Indigenous water issues. Progress is being made on engaging Indigenous people in water planning and management processes. However, challenges remain and little progress has been observed in the allocation or licensing of water for Indigenous social, economic, spiritual or cultural purposes.

Leadership on Indigenous issues by a number of organisations has helped facilitate the integration of Indigenous interests into national and state water policy frameworks. These organisations include the Indigenous Water Advisory Committee, the former First People’s Water Engagement Council, Murray-Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Northern Basin Indigenous Nations and the North Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance.

This report encourages ongoing support for this representation so that Indigenous voices continue to be heard in the national water debate. It also supports further promotion of allocation or licensing opportunities and efforts to build the capacity of Indigenous communities to participate fully in water planning and management.

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A review of Indigenous involvement in water planning 2013 (PDF, 457.85 KB)

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