26 September 2023

Indigenous leaders to take on water reform

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The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has convened a meeting of Aboriginal leaders to discuss water management and national water reform.

The Department met members of the Committee on Aboriginal Water Interests (CAWI) together with representatives from its Aboriginal Water and Environment Advisory Group (AWEAG).

Also present were staff from the Commonwealth’s Department of Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water.

Director General of the DWER, Michelle Andrews said her staff provided valuable insights on water management in Western Australia, opportunities through native title and the modernisation and drafting of Western Australia’s water legislation.

“The CAWI, with its national focus, complements the ongoing efforts of each jurisdiction at the State and local levels to advance water reform in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” Ms Andrews said.

“It plays a pivotal role in influencing national water reform by advocating for investments, policy formulation, and progress in Aboriginal Water Interests across their respective jurisdictions.”

She said the meeting aimed to facilitate a meaningful discussion on water management and reform in Western Australia, within the broader context of national water reform.

Manager of Aboriginal Engagement and Partnership with the DWER, Jillian Collard said the meeting had fostered connections, promoted knowledge exchange, and provided invaluable guidance from an enhanced national Aboriginal perspective to inform legislative reforms by the Western Australian Government.

Ms Andrews said members shared stories and learnings from their own work in various fields of water management and legislation.

“We had great discussions, constructive commentary, and there was a lot for us all to reflect on and learn from,” she said.

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