Equitable access and rights to water in the NT 


An Indigenous leader believes that with the Top End now perceived as the emerging food bowl of Australia, there are genuine concerns for the possible impacts on our freshwater ecosystems.

Larrakia/Wulna woman Donna Jackson, the Larrakia's representative on the Darwin Harbour Advisory Committee, will outline some of the approaches to these challenges during her presentation Equitable access and rights to water in the NT during the upcoming Charles Darwin Symposium, Water in the Top End: Opportunities and Constraints.

“Aboriginal people have managed Australia’s environment and water over countless millennia and continue to denote sacredness and importance to waterholes, springs and rivers,” Ms Jackson said.

“However, today in the NT and indeed in Australia, there appears to be inequitable arrangements for the allocation of this precious and sacred resource.

“Northern Territorians are in a unique position to ensure that there is equitable and sensible water allocation for all users.”

Ms Jackson said she believed we must reconsider the totally unsustainable practices that are still being put forward by industry and government and challenge their assumptions about methodologies.

“We now know the outcomes of the last 230 years of non-Indigenous-based water management. Dying rivers and empty billabongs are testimony to this,” she said.

“Yet, even today, we are all being asked to trust these same (non-Indigenous based) management models to deliver fair outcomes for people and the environment.”

The Charles Darwin Symposium is designed to generate discussion and debate about the perceived opportunities for and constraints on water use, and whether Top End residents should continue to think of the Northern Territory as a frontier with boundless possibilities.

The one-day event is free to the public and will run from 8.30am to 5pm on Friday, 30 May at the Casuarina campus.

For more information go to www.cdu.edu.au/cdss.