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Indigenous Water Policy Launch - Parliament House Darwin NT - 24 March 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 - 10:25 to 14:00
Event Type: 

Mona Liddy (Daly River region, NT), Chris Griffiths (east Kimberley region, WA), Murrandoo Yanner (southern Gulf region, Qld), Robbie Salee, Bernard Charlie (Cape York region, Qld).

Indigenous experts from across north Australia launched an Indigenous Water Policy Statement at a landmark event that took place at Parliament House in Darwin on 24 March 2010. The event was hosted by NAILSMA.

View Launch Agenda and Water Rights poster made for the event.

People from Fitzroy Crossing to Cape York attended. Speaking at the launch, Professor Patrick Dodson stressed that this policy statement provides a chance to get things right in the north - to include Indigenous people in nation building, and make sure they are part of the economic development of their land.

The Indigenous Water Policy Statement was developed by NAILSMA through the Indigenous Water Policy Group (IWPG) This group was initiated in 2006 to enhance Indigenous water policy outcomes across state and territory jurisdictions.

The policy launch was pitched at commonwealth, state and territory Ministers and government water practitioners. It presented Indigenous people standing together for water rights through a statement that provides clear terms for how Indigenous people want to be engaged in water reform processes.

The policy position builds on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as other statements relating to water reform, the Garma International Indigenous Water Declaration and the Mary River Statement.

The Indigenous Water Policy Statement makes four key declarations.

  1. Indigenous peoples’ traditional ownership must be fully recognised in Australian law.
  2. Water legislation and government policies must allocate Cultural Flows owned by Indigenous peoples to ensure equity and Indigenous cultural rights.
  3. The Consumptive Pool in all water plans must include an equitable Indigenous allocation for commercial purposes.
  4. Governments and water agencies must join with Indigenous traditional owners and native title groups to develop water plans and management.

The IWPG supports the recognition of Indigenous Rights to ownership, management and use of waters for commercial purposes in response to current commonwealth and state policies and reform agendas, specifically the National Water Initiative.

The policy statement offers tangible opportunities for positive economic outcomes for Australia’s most disadvantaged people.

Below is a link to a collection speeches given by the experts who spoke at the Launch giving different perspectives on the importance of Indigenous involvement in National Water Reform.

View extracts of the speeches delivered at the Launch, and some media interviews.


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