The support and input of Aboriginal people is essential to the delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in Victoria and is a key consideration within the state’s strategic plan for the management of our water resources, Water for Victoria [link].
We believe balanced management of water can bring real cultural, social, spiritual and economic benefits to Aboriginal people. Examples of specific projects run by Traditional Owners include:
- Aboriginal use and occupancy mapping
- freshwater turtle monitoring
- a study of the fish fauna in midden
- medicinal plant surveys
We value the input of Aboriginal Victorians into environmental projects under the Basin Plan’s Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) [link], and acknowledge there is a diversity of views in both cultural heritage and water delivery. The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) considers the shared and cultural benefits of water when planning its activities on Country.
We are working with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to identify and document Aboriginal objectives and outcomes for water through the development of water resource plans [link]. This will help us to better understand Aboriginal aspirations for water and to work together to achieve these aspirations. Our collaboration has included building capacity through projects and employment.
By increasing our engagement and understanding we hope to adapt our water management to accommodate Aboriginal peoples’ connections to land and water; bolster community connections and wellbeing; and provide linkages to other benefits including training, skills development and job opportunities.