The water debate in Australia has expanded to include environmental protection, adaptive management and community engagement, drawing attention to the role and protection of Indigenous cultural values. The National Water Initiative (NWI) contains specific reference to Indigenous interests in water, expressed in terms of access, management and participation in the development of water sharing plans. However, questions of appropriate and adequate participation fall short of meeting Indigenous aspirations. Indigenous relationships to water are not conceptualised according to dominant paradigms of resource management and property. The original objects of the water law framework are focused on security, enforceability, tradability and efficiency, excluding notions of communal title and custodianship underlying Indigenous estates. This article focuses on the role of the law in creating the enabling environment for the recognition of Indigenous water rights. It aims to produce a practical justification for recognising cultural interests in water and to address legal challenges to understanding traditional water use and values, rights and responsibilities.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Water Law|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
- Water rights
- Indigenous peoples