Artwork by an Aboriginal artist.

The New South Wales Government has announced the creation of new Regional Aboriginal Water Committees and is calling for expressions of interest from First Nations people across the state who want to ensure that Aboriginal voices play a major part in water planning and management. 

Director of Aboriginal Water at the Department of Planning and Environment, Darren Murray, said the committees will strengthen the role of Aboriginal people in a governance structure that is inclusive and culturally appropriate.

“Water is sacred to Aboriginal people, and we know from years of discussions with Elders and other representatives that they need to have more of a say in guiding the important work we do in this space,” Mr Murray said.

“But they also don’t want to be burdened by consultation fatigue which is why we’re putting the call out to First Nations people to nominate to join these committees that will provide a far more streamlined and effective approach.

“The successful applicants will enable effective exchange of knowledge between Aboriginal communities and the Department and empower communities in their participation in water programs and projects.”

Each committee will consist of up to 12 members and will be regionally based in alignment with the New South Wales Government’s 12 Regional Water Strategy areas.

Meetings will be held up to six times a year.

“This is about strengthening confidence, trust and cooperation between Aboriginal people and the New South Wales Government and ensuring their rights and values are considered at a local level,” Mr Murray said.

“It is a terrific opportunity to amplify Aboriginal voices at a regional level so if you’re interested, please contact us to register.”

Committee members need to be Aboriginal and accepted by their community as a person who can represent their interests.

They also must live in the community they represent and ideally, have knowledge of local water issues.

To learn more, visit regional Aboriginal water committees.

Featured image: Artwork by Aboriginal artist, Nathan Peckham. Image credit: New South Wales Government.

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