The Federal Government has invested $1.6 million in a project to understand the cultural value of water for Indigenous communities.
Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said the National Cultural Flows Research Project would undoubtedly improve knowledge of Indigenous water needs.
“This is a project by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people,” Mr Littleproud said.
“For the first time in Australia we have a clear insight into how First Nation water needs can be measured.”
All Australian governments, from councils to the Commonwealth, now have a resource which will help them better engage with Indigenous groups.
“This will help in making laws and policies which affect cultural water use across the country,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I want to make sure we deliver the best possible outcomes for Basin communities—particularly those most in need.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has welcomed this landmark research.
“Since time immemorial, First Australians have cared for and been the custodians of land and fresh and salt waters,” Mr Scullion said.
“The Murray Darling Basin is more than just a source of water for agricultural use, it has enormous cultural, social, historical and economic value to Indigenous Australians.”
The Government has committed $40 million for cultural and economic water entitlements in the Murray Darling Basin and $20 million for economic development projects for communities most impacted by the Murray Darling Basin Plan.