The Victorian Government is committed to addressing the historical and ongoing exclusion of Traditional Owners, inclusive of groups without formal recognition, from holding and managing water through a restorative justice approach.

The formally recognised Traditional Owners and original custodians of the region’s land and waters are the Bunurong, Eastern Maar, Gunaikurnai, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples.

This Strategy is the first of its kind to be developed through a genuine partnership with Traditional Owners. Traditional Owners sat alongside decision-makers from government and the water sector, guiding the development of the Strategy.

Commitments that will be progressed include:

  • working with Traditional Owners to continue to identify and pursue opportunities to return water as it becomes available, without taking water away from farmers or other entitlement holders
  • removing barriers to water ownership and access for Traditional Owners
  • strengthening the role of Traditional Owners in water resource planning and management.

A Cultural Benefits Framework was developed by the Traditional Owner Partnership, which will be applied when implementing relevant actions and policies in the Strategy. It demonstrates how changes in ownership and management of water can result in benefits at the scale of individuals and Traditional Owner Nations, and also create a ripple effect that extends to the wider Aboriginal (and non-Aboriginal) community, the whole of Victoria and potentially beyond.

Mitchell River

To find out more:

Watch a short video about Traditional Owners and water

Page last updated: 05/09/22