The landscape of First Nations water rights and interests

In late 2022, an interim Working Group of First Nations leaders was convened by Watertrust to help shape a Ministerial roundtable with the Hon Tanya Plibersek. Watertrust continued to support the Working Group as it explored the potential need and options to strengthen First Nations' participation in water policy reform nationwide. As part of that work, the Working Group sought a landscape map of organisations in Australia that have a role in furthering First Nations water rights and interests.

Through the work, Watertrust mapped 29 organisations against four attributes considered to be important by the Working Group:

  1. focus on First Nations water rights and interests (core to peripheral)
  2. mandate (national to local)
  3. how it is convened (government or independent of government)
  4. permanence (fixed term or enduring).

A one-page description of each of the organisations accompany the landscape map.

The Working Group used this analysis and discussions with other stakeholders in the water sector, to identify a gap between organisations with a national focus on First Nations water interests and the many organisations working on Country with First Nations.

With First Nations water rights and interests having been identified as a priority area for water reform in Australia, we anticipate the landscape map will make an important contribution to national water reform. Its purpose is to provide a valuable resource for many groups working in the Australian water sector, expanding the collective understanding and awareness of the network of organisations supporting First Nations water rights and interests.

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