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Establishing a clearer and committed pathway for improved First Nation outcomes

There are more than 40 First Nations in the Basin and the MDBA and Basin governments value and respect their significant knowledge of the Basin and its ecosystems.

The 2020 Basin Plan Evaluation has found better involvement and support is needed for First Nations people to benefit from their cultural and economic connections with Basin rivers and floodplains.

There is also an opportunity to learn and incorporate First Nation knowledge into Basin water use and management.

Brewarrina fish traps, Barwon–Darling River

Brewarrina fish ladders, Barwon–Darling River

Recommendations and commitments for the future

Evaluating the Basin Plan is an opportunity for Basin governments to reflect on the past 8 years.

The Evaluation considers the changing landscape across the Basin, the effectiveness of the Basin Plan and whether outcomes are being achieved. It’s also an opportunity to determine how we continue to improve the health of the Basin for everyone.

The MDBA has made several recommendations and commitments to improve the management of water resources. The MDBA has made the following recommendations to strengthen First Nation outcomes:

  • Recommendation 9 – First Nations, Basin governments and the MDBA should develop a practical pathway for the use of water for cultural and economic outcomes. This should build on current knowledge and fast-track initiatives, such as the $40 million water entitlements project for First Nations. Action should be focused on short-term practical activities, as well as build the foundations for enhanced First Nations outcomes in the longer term.

The MDBA has also made a commitment to improve First Nation outcomes.

MDBA commitment

The MDBA commits to working with First Nations to identify practical options that enhance First Nation outcomes as work proceeds on the review of the Basin Plan in 2026.

The appointment of a First Nations Authority member will help the MDBA collaborate with First Nations to enhance our knowledge of the Murray–Darling and apply this to water management.

Updated: 22 Dec 2020