Jobs on Country: Legislation supporting strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Bill Introduced to Parliament

TheTerritory Labor Government today introduced the Water Further Amendment Bill2019 to Parliament, which opens up opportunities for future economicdevelopment and local jobs for Aboriginal people on country.

Oncepassed, the Bill will amend the Water Act 1992 so that Aboriginal economicdevelopment is established as a new beneficial use category and allocations are made to Aboriginal Water Reserves in future water allocation plans for eligibleland.

TheBill reflects our policy framework which aims to support Aboriginal peopleaccessing water resources so they can:

Run their own enterprise on their land;

Partner with other businesses to runenterprises on Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal land; or

Trade access to their entitlements to anotherentity in exchange for agreed benefits that could include monetary oremployment opportunities.

InOctober 2017, the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Policy Framework waslaunched and was the first of its type and scale to be released anywhere inAustralia, representing significant progressive policy reform without anequivalent in other Australian jurisdictions.

Across-agency implementation of Aboriginal Water Reserves is underway, such asin the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan 2018-2021 where there is acurrent allocation.

Quotesfrom the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Eva Lawler:

Weare leading the way as the first jurisdiction in Australia to establishStrategic Aboriginal Water Reserves providing Aboriginal people with increasedopportunity to access water resources for economic development.

Ourwork will also reduce barriers and disadvantage experienced by Aboriginalpeople in competing for access to water and other commercial interests.

Wepromised to reinstate the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves after they werescrapped by the CLP, because we saw future opportunities that it could createfor Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and the jobs on country itwould support.

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