​​​Media Release

New safeguard for Indigenous water rights​

28 June 2018

  • Indigenous considerations now compulsory in Commonwealth water reporting
  • Includes requirement for involvement of Indigenous people in decision-making
  • Murray-Darling Basin Authority to report every year

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud has directed Commonwealth water agencies to improve reporting of Indigenous involvement in Murray-Darling Basin environmental water management.

"I'm determined to protect the Basin and its communities, and its Indigenous people are an important part of that," Minister Littleproud said.

"Water is important to Indigenous communities, culture and livelihoods.

"Now everyone will be able to see how Indigenous water values and Indigenous water use has been considered by environmental water managers.

"We will also know how Indigenous groups have been included in decision-making when managing environmental water. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority will report on this every year."

Minister Littleproud said outcomes for Indigenous people were also front-and-centre of the Murray-Darling Basin package announced on 7 May 2018.

"We're investing $40 million to support Indigenous Basin communities invest in cultural and economic water. I thank the MDBA for doing this work and getting in behind Basin communities."

Fast Facts:

  • The Coalition Government's commitment for Indigenous investment in water includes:
    • $40 million over four years to support Indigenous Basin communities by investing in cultural and economic water entitlements and associated planning activities.
    • A $20 million grant program over four years for economic development projects for indigenous, remote, rural and regional communities most impacted by the Basin Plan.
      • The communities most in need of such support, as identified by the MDBA in the Northern Basin Review would be given highest priority.
    • Work with both NSW and Queensland to identify entitlements in the northern Basin that could be allocated to Indigenous communities through state water resource plans.
    • Two full time staff positions for three years to support Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) and the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN). ​