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AUSTRALIA. An Indigenous Water Policy Statement for North Australia launched at Parliament House, Darwin, 24 March 2010

Categories: Aguas, Australia


Indigenous water experts from across northern Australia convened at Parliament House in Darwin on the 24th March and launched a policy statement on water.


The policy statement has been developed by NAILSMA through the Indigenous Water Policy Group. This group was initiated in 2006 to enhance Indigenous water policy outcomes across state and territory jurisdictions.

The policy launch is pitched at commonwealth, state and territory Ministers and government water practitioners. It presents 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.






Media Release

An Indigenous Water Policy Statement for North Australia
launched at Parliament House, Darwin, 24 March 2010

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.
Up to 80 people from Fitzroy Crossing to Cape York attended this event which was hosted by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA).
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.
Joe Morrison, NAILSMA CEO said “This Policy Statement is a clear declaration of the terms upon which Indigenous people want to be engaged in water planning and reforms in the north”.
Traditional Owners attending the launch bought water from their regional catchments to be part of a symbolic unification ceremony to demonstrate that Indigenous communities across the north are standing together for water rights.
“The Water Policy Statement is a pragmatic approach by Indigenous people that is addressed to governments to partner with us to tackle Indigenous economic disadvantage” he said.
The Policy Statement 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 Group is the only construct in the north informing polices in the interests of its members and advocating for the recognition of Indigenous rights to water for customary and commercial purposes.
NAILSMA is an alliance of Kimberley Land Council, Northern Land Council, Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Cooperation and Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation.
More Information:
For full details about the launch, and to download the Indigenous Water Policy Statement, media releases, and other relevant information, go to http://www.nailsma.org.au/forum/water_policy_launch.html

For more information about the Indigenous Water Policy Group, visit the NAILSMA
website: www.nailsma.org.au/projects/water_policy.html

Media Contacts: 
To arrange an interview with Mr. Joe Morrison, please contact Robin McGillivray, Communications Officer – Water Program.

Tel: 08 8946 6015 Mo: 0404622600

Fax: 08 8946 6364

Email: Robin.MacGillivray@cdu.edu.au


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