Important Aboriginal water reserves legislation passed

The Territory Government is ensuring that water is reserved for future Aboriginal economic development and enterprise, through the passing of the Water Further Amendment Bill 2019 in Parliament – supporting local jobs on country.

The legislation establishes Aboriginal economic development as a new beneficial use category in the Water Act 1992, paving the way for water in new allocation plans to be assigned to Aboriginal water reserves, capturing the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Policy Framework.

These changes will also provide positive incentives for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups to work together, and with other prospective partners through opportunities for water trading, land development projects on country and shared equity arrangements in development projects, with Aboriginal employment and economic development benefits.

The Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Policy was launched in October 2017 to ensure that Aboriginal people with rights and interests in land with access to water, have water reserved into the future, until they are ready to take or trade that water.

The Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Policy Framework was the first of its kind to be developed nationally and embodies progressive water policy reform, without an equivalent in other Australian jurisdictions.

Source: NT Government