More than seventy Indigenous community representatives gathered at the First Peoples’ National Water Summit in Adelaide last month to develop advice to the Commission on how  Indigenous water should be managed.  The two day Summit was convened by the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council (FPWEC), which was formed to provide advice to the National Water Commission on national Indigenous water issues.

Summit attendees discussed numerous Australia’s First Peoples water-related topics including:

  • gaining respect and recognition for cultural values and aspirations
  • potential allocation of water entitlements to support economic development and cultural needs
  • opportunities to improve decision making and partnerships in water planning and management.

Attendees then worked together to develop a national position on how Australia’s First Peoples can gain access to water and how water can be better managed to provide for Indigenous needs.

FPWEC Chair Phil Duncan said:

‘The Council will now use the Summit outcomes to develop formal advice to the National Water Commission on Australia’s First Peoples’ water issues.  ‘This will inform the Commission’s findings as it develops a position on how Australia’s First Peoples’ water should be managed in the future.

‘Last year, through our Biennial Assessment submission, we advised the Commission that more could be done to address Australia’s First Peoples’ expectations in the allocation and management of water resources.

‘The Commission recommended that Australian states and territories better use engagement processes to explicitly account for Australia’s First Peoples’ water values and requirements in water planning.

‘It also identified a requirement to build Australia’s First Peoples’ capacity to participate in water planning and management, including recognition of Indigenous knowledge of water systems and found that specific allocations of water for Australia’s First Peoples remains patchy.

To learn more about the work of the FPWEC and other indigenous water planning projects follow this link.

National Water Commission Communique