First Nations’ water summit calls for urgent action

Delegates of 46 Sovereign First Nations have called on all levels of government to urgently address the impacts on their culture, heritage and wellbeing arising from the management of water resources in the Murray Darling Basin.

A Joint Gathering of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) was held in Canberra on the 9th and 10th August, to coincide with the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

The Delegates released a Water Statement, calling for urgent action on key reforms needed to recognise First Nation’s rights and interests in water.

MLDRIN and NBAN are peak bodies representing Sovereign First Nations on water management across the Murray Darling Basin.

joint gathering pic
Delegates of MLDRIN and NBAN, alongside State government representatives gathered in Canberra

“This Gathering and Water Statement highlights the strong, united voice of First Nations and the importance of water to our culture, Country and livelihoods,” said Nari Nari man and MLDRIN Acting Chairperson Rene Woods.

“Our members have rights and responsibilities to care for the waterways of the Basin and build sustainable livelihoods that support our communities. Yet, on a daily basis, we witness the degradation of our rivers from over-extraction, pollution, over-regulation and management that favours powerful interests and lobby groups,” Rene Woods said.

“First Nations along the Darling River have recently highlighted their grave concerns about the impact of extraction and poor management on their cultural identity. This is just one example of the impacts faced by our membership on a daily basis. If our rivers die, the very fabric of these ancient cultures is at risk,” said NBAN Chairperson Fred Hooper.

“We are encouraged by the support shown by the Murray Darling Basin Authority and State agencies, who are recognising the need to address our rights and interests,” Rene Woods said.

“We are calling on all Basin governments to work with our organisations to build momentum towards a world-leading First Nations water framework for Australia,” Fred Hooper said.

To read the Water Statement follow this link.


Rene Woods (MLDRIN): 0424 299 929

Fred Hooper (NBAN): 0427 957 960

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