“Standing Together for Water Rights”: North Australian Indigenous Experts Water Futures Forum Report

“Standing Together for Water Rights”: North Australian Indigenous Experts Water Futures Forum Report Report

NAILSMA Knowledge Series Forum Report

  • Author(s): NAILSMA
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA)

Abstract: The North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) was commissioned by the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce (the Taskforce) to convene the North Australian Indigenous Experts Water Futures Forum at Mary River in the Northern Territory in August 2009. The Taskforce maintains that Indigenous stakeholders need to have a strong voice so that their interests and beliefs about water and water sustainability can be better understood. Mainly scientific data on water sustainability is available to work with and the Taskforce understands that this water research does not create a complete picture about Northern Australia’s water story. The Taskforce, therefore, sought advice on three key aspects of its brief: • the sustainable capacity of the Northern river systems; • economic development options and their impacts; and • institutional and governance arrangement for the effective management of Northern water resources. Accordingly, the Forum, which was attended by about 80 Indigenous leaders and aspiring leaders, was aimed to draw out ideas and concerns about economic development, cultural issues associated with water and the perceived or actual consequences of developments in Northern Australia; as well as how governance and institutional arrangements may affect Indigenous community interests and aspirations. It was also a place to declare a clear Indigenous position and commentary on water resource use, based on and refined through open, regional and culturally-based discussion groups. Forum delegates were welcomed to country by Limilngan Traditional Owners. Over two days the Forum combined keynote talks, Indigenous facilitated regional workshops and open discussions based on the Taskforce’s Terms of Reference. Delegates were asked to consider and comment on their: • social and cultural connections to water resources; • economic development aspirations that rely on access and use of locally or regionally significant water resources; and • knowledge of current and proposed water resource management and governance arrangements and perceptions of actual and potential positive and negative impacts.

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Suggested Citation
NAILSMA, 2009, “Standing Together for Water Rights”: North Australian Indigenous Experts Water Futures Forum Report, Report, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3137.

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