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Facilitating Indigenous Water Rights in Northern Australia - John Mackenzie

Author:  John Mackenzie
Publication Date: 
2011

Abstract:


Statutory water rights for Australia's Traditional Owners and Indigenous communities remain one of the major unrealised promises of the national water reform process.


Position statements, public submissions and endorsed agreements from representative Traditional Owner and Indigenous groups have consistently articulated a preference for how these rights should be delivered: through the allocation of strategic reserves of water for commercial and custodial purposes.


Whilst the water planning agencies across Northern Australia have responded through the creation of some legal and policy provisions for Indigenous water reserves, the gap between these 'hypothetical' entitlements and the use of water resources for self-determined economic development opportunities persists.


The Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge Hub (TRaCK) and other agencies including the National Water Commission have attributed this to a range of factors, including a low awareness of water planning.

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