The connection between Aboriginal Victorians and water will be further recognised following the announcement today of the first round of recipients of a new program funded by the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville congratulated the recipients of the inaugural Aboriginal Water Grants Program, which supports Aboriginal participation in water management improving outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.
The Labor Government provided $4.7 million over four years to establish the program, designed to support local research projects with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to better understand Aboriginal water values.
This program, in partnership with Traditional Owners across Victoria, will support spiritual and cultural uses of water, and create employment opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians.
It will also support the self-determination of Traditional Owners by prioritising projects that best meet their needs regarding water management on Country.
The grants support initiatives that enable Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to work in water management, and understand and promote Aboriginal water values, uses, aims and requirements, including:
- Recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water
- Include Aboriginal values and traditional ecological knowledge in water planning
- Increase the participation of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in water management.
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.
Aboriginal communities’ connection to Country plays a large part in cultural continuity, with the Victorian waterways playing an important role in their sense of identity.
The Labor Government’s Water For Victoria policy sets out ways to promote water security and protect jobs, agriculture, and the environment and recognise Aboriginal water values.
The Labor Government also introduced legislation that requires all water management to have regard for Aboriginal uses and values of waterways or traditional ecological knowledge in managing these natural assets.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“Congratulations to each of the recipients – I look forward to seeing the results of your important work.”
“We are working hard to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal communities by reconnecting them to water for cultural, economic, customary and spiritual practices.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020