Indigenous water rights and water law reforms in Australia

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Jackson, Susan
Godden, Lee
O'Bryan, Katie
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2020
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This article critically examines the diverse policy and legal frameworks in Australia that seek to address Indigenous peoples’ water interests. The article analyses three geographically diverse case studies – northern Australia; a river in a metropolitan setting (the Yarra); and southern Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. Each case study examines legislative and representative measures that comprise, more or less, “inclusion” of Aboriginal interests in their legal regimes. The article concludes that even “reformed” water laws can continue the dispossession and exclusion of Aboriginal peoples wrought by colonisation. In particular, water market models that require “full allocation” of water entitlements as a prerequisite to their implementation, can operate in an exclusionary manner, but statutory water planning processes are not immune from inequity either. First Nations’ advocacy continues for more robust inclusion of Indigenous interests in water, as Australia enters another critical stage in its ongoing water reform agenda and governments review the National Water Initiative of 2004.

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Environmental and Planning Law Journal
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FT130101145
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© 2020 Thomson Reuters. This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Environmental and Planning law journal and should be cited as Jackson, S; Godden, L; O'Bryan, K, Indigenous water rights and water law reforms in Australia, 2020, 37 EPLJ 655. For all subscription inquiries please phone, from Australia: 1300 304 195, from Overseas: +61 2 8587 7980 or online at legal.thomsonreuters.com.au/search. The official PDF version of this article can also be purchased separately from Thomson Reuters at http://sites.thomsonreuters.com.au/journals/subscribe-or-purchase.
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Environmental and resources law
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Jackson, S; Godden, L; O'Bryan, K, Indigenous water rights and water law reforms in Australia, Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 2020, 37, pp. 655-678
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