Roadmap to increase the involvement of traditional owners in water management

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The Victorian government has just announced Water is Life: A Roadmap for Water Access for Traditional Owners was developed in consultation with traditional owners in Victoria to increase their involvement in water management.

water is life defines opportunities for Traditional Owners to access and manage water for spiritual, cultural and environmental purposes and serves as a framework for creating and maintaining a careful and thoughtful balance between the rights and entitlements of all involved .

water is life includes national statements from involved Traditional Owners, who – along with engagement with the community and water industry – continue to define what outcomes look like in each region.

The Government of Victoria is investing $3.35 million over two years for the initial delivery of the water is life roadmap as well as $18 million for other Traditional Owner-led projects.

Victoria has so far returned 5.86 gigaliters of water to Traditional Owners across the state, which supports the self-determination of Traditional Owners by providing them with the ability to manage water in a way that best meets their needs. their needs.

This includes when the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation was first awarded a 2,500 megalitre water right on the Palawarra (Fitzroy River) in March 2022.

Such rights will be used to restore water flow paths in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.

Maintaining the flow of water over the land is an essential aspect of managing the cultural values ​​of Budj Bim, which contains the largest and oldest aquaculture system in the world. It contains a complex system of canals, weirs and dams which were developed by Gunditjmara to trap, store and harvest kooyang (short-finned eel).

Victorian Water Minister Harriet Shing visited the World Heritage site of Budj Bim in south-west Victoria to launch the roadmap – building on self-determination for Indigenous Australians to Victoria.

“Traditional owners have enduring cultural, spiritual and economic ties to the land, water and resources,” Ms Shing said.

“They have stewarded land and water sustainably for thousands of generations on Country, and those bonds deserve respect and recognition.”

The water is life The Indigenous Water Roadmap will not affect irrigators’ water rights or allocations, nor will it mean that irrigators have to pay additional fees and charges.

Victorian Treaties and First Peoples Minister Gabrielle Williams said traditional owners have long called for a greater role in waterway management.

water is life will provide greater opportunities to make this happen as an important step on our path to the treaty.

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