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New program injects Indigenous knowledge into water management



The Victorian Government has announced the first round of recipients in a new program dedicated to supporting Aboriginal participation in water management roles. The Aboriginal Water Grants Program hopes to improve water outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians by increasing the input of traditional knowledge from Indigenous owners. The program has been designed to support local research projects with traditional owners and Aboriginal Victorians to better understand Indigenous water values. The program also seeks to support spiritual and cultural uses of water, and create employment opportunities for Victorians. Grants of up to $200,000 are available for initiatives that seek to identify and use Aboriginal water values and traditional ecological knowledge, and up to $120,000 for organisations who recruit an Aboriginal water officer. The grant recipients for the first round includes Indigenous knowledge projects from right across Victoria including research on the Murray River, the Yarra River, the Victorian alps and Bendigo Creek. Minister for Water Lisa Neville congratulated the recipients on their entry into the program. “Congratulations to each of the recipients – I look forward to seeing the results of your important work,” Neville said. “We are working hard to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal communities by re-connecting them to water for cultural, economic, customary and spiritual practices.”

This new program follows several similar efforts to increase recognition of Aboriginal water values in modern Australian water management, such as the appointment of the first Aboriginal water commissioner to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in November 2017, and the implementation of the Yarra River Protection Act in October 2017. Sources:

awa.asn.au


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