Australian Associated Press
Australia is breaching international standards in its handling of water resources and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, traditional owners will tell South Australia’s royal commission.
A submission by the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations group, representing traditional owner organisations across the Murray-Darling Basin, says the Water Act is inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations under the Biodiversity Convention and the Ramsar Convention.
“After decades of advocacy, Basin governments are beginning to acknowledge First Nations’ rights and interests in water, yet Australia’s Water Act and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan fall far short of international standards of recognising Aboriginal people’s unique connections to waterways,” Environmental Justice Australia lawyer Dr Bruce Lindsay said in a statement on Thursday.
MLDRIN chair and Nari Nari man Rene Woods said the royal commission represented an important opportunity to air indigenous concerns and present proposals for change to Australia’s national water legislation.
“The Water Act needs to be reformed to recognise and promote First Nations’ distinctive attachment to and authority relating to waters of the Murray Darling Basin,” Mr Woods said.
The commission continues its hearings in Adelaide at 10am on Thursday.
This AAP story was published by The Australian on 19 July 2018