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Indigenous Interests in the National Water Initiative - Water Management, Reform and Implementation

Author:  Jackson Sue NAILSMA CSIRO
Publication Type: 
Publication Date: 
Background Paper and Literature Review 2007

Indigenous Interests and the Natinal Water Initiative - Water Management, Reform and Implementation

This report, Indigenous Interests and the Natinoal Water Initiative, is an extended version of a review of current knowledge of relevance to the implementation of the National Water Initiative (NWI), Indigenous interests in Tropical Rivers 2006. This extended version of that report has been produced for the North Australian Indigenous Water Policy Group (IWPG). It is intended to provide background to understanding the Australian water sector, its institutional arrangements and recent policy reforms. This understanding should assist in the consideration of Indigenous water rights and interests in relation to the NWI, the scoping of research topics of interest to NAILSMA and the IWPG, and to the group's policy development process.

The report, in five parts, provides the following:

  • An overview of the water resource sector, its key features and the resource management problems driving the raft of changes witnessed since the early 1990s
  • A description of the current institutional arrangements, including the background to the NWI, particularly the reform of the 1990s, Australia's water resource law and management responses and structures
  • An analysis of the NWI and its treatment of Indigenous interests, outlining the information base available to assist in implementing this key policy
  • A commentary on some of the problems being experienced in the definition and incorporation of Indigenous interests and values in water planning
  • A preliminary identification of knowledge gaps and areas of interest for future research

In the latter sections, the report provides a review of the literature relating to Australian Indigenous interests in water policy and management and discusses the issues that may affect the degree to which Indigenous people benefit from the NWI.