New Commissioner To Recognise Aboriginal Water Values

15 November 2017

The Andrews Labor Government has appointed the first Aboriginal Water Commissioner to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH).

Minister for Water Lisa Neville today announced the appointment of Rueben Berg, who has extensive experience in the Victorian water industry and a strong understanding of and passion for Aboriginal affairs.

The appointment is an example of the Labor Government’s Water for Victoria plan in action – to recognise Aboriginal water values and improve the health of our waterways and catchments.

Mr Berg will provide VEWH with an understanding of Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge and values associated with environmental water.

Mr Berg is a current Director at Westernport Water and a member of the Water for Country Project Control Group.

He has held a range of senior positions as the Founder and Managing Director of RJHB Consulting and a Founding Director of Indigenous Ultimate Association and Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria.

Mr Berg brings governance experience through his involvement in several advisory boards, including Monash University’s Indigenous Advisory Council, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Engineers Without Borders and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Advisory Board.

Water for Victoria establishes an Aboriginal Water Program to help identify Aboriginal values and uses of water, and to help build the capacity of the sector to ensure the involvement of Traditional Owners.

VEWH is the independent statutory body responsible for holding and managing water for the environment in Victoria and works with catchment management authorities to ensure environmental water entitlements are used to achieve the best environmental outcome.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville

“It’s wonderful to welcome Mr Berg to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder – he brings extensive knowledge of water issues and Aboriginal cultural values to the position.”

“Recognising Aboriginal values in water is the right thing to do for communities and the environment. It’s a recognition of the importance that water has had to Indigenous communities for thousands of years.”

“Aboriginal communities are at the heart of Water for Victoria and have the experience and knowledge to make key decisions about water holdings and the health of our waterways.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Environmental Water Holder Commissioner Rueben Berg

“Waterways have been fundamental to our people across the state for thousands of years – and I’m honoured to be appointed to this role.”

“It’s key that Aboriginal people are involved in waterway management so we can share and celebrate our culture and knowledge with all Victorians.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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