Aboriginal landowners in the Territory will be better able to develop their land and create local jobs with the release of the Territory Government’s Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves policy.
NT Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Lauren Moss, said the policy fulfils a key election commitment that guarantees Aboriginal Territorians have a real say in water allocation that affects their interests.
A Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve is a volume of water within a Water Allocation Plan area, set aside for exclusive use or trade by Aboriginal landowners.
“We went to the election with a promise to reinstate Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves and we have fulfilled that promise,” Minister Moss said.
“This policy ensures water allocation plans make provision for water based Aboriginal economic development and job creation on country.”
This is the first policy of its type and scale to be released anywhere in Australia and builds on the previous Territory Government’s policy.
The establishment of Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves is also a key action within the Territory Government’s Economic Development Framework.
Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves ensure that water is reserved for future Aboriginal economic development and enterprise and seeks to redress concerns that Aboriginal Territorians are missing out on beneficial, economic outcomes on their land.
It also provides a positive incentive for interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups through opportunities for water trading, Aboriginal employment, partnerships or shared-equity in development projects, particularly in remote areas.
An evaluation of the implementation of the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves policy will be carried out after two years to assess its effectiveness and the social and economic impact.
“I thank the key stakeholders, public servants and members of the public who participated in the consultations and have helped shape this vital policy,” Ms Moss said.
Source: NT Government