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It is of utmost importance for future growth and wellbeing that the unique Victorian context and Traditional Owner interests are considered within water reform.

Expression of Interest – Grant applications are now open  

Emergency Recovery Victoria (ERV) has partnered with the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (Federation) to deliver the Aboriginal Culture and Healing Flood Recovery Grant Program for the October 2022 Victorian floods. A grant pool of $800,000 (ex GST) has been dedicated to support Traditional Owner and Aboriginal communities in Victoria in the recovery phase.

Find out more about the Program, including eligibility and how to apply, here.

To realise the ambitions of Traditional Owners to heal Country through management of cultural water, we worked with Traditional Owners and government to embed Nation Statements in the 2022 Water is Life: Traditional Owner Access to Water Roadmap. In the 2016 Water for Victoria Water Plan, the State Government committed to working in partnership with Traditional Owners to develop a roadmap for Aboriginal access to water.

The Federation, in partnership with Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Aboriginal Water Unit (AWU), worked closely with Traditional Owners to inform Water is Life, supporting the development of Nation Statements, which assert their sovereignty and describe the cultural importance of water to their communities. The inclusion of their Nation Statements in Water is Life shows a significant shift in the way policy is being developed in Victoria.

Through a range of engagement approaches, including individual Nation workshops, as well as regional and state-wide forums, Traditional Owners developed a set of self-determined policy and legislative reforms to improve access, ownership, and management of water to meet their spiritual, cultural, environmental, social and economic needs and interests.

However, it is critical that this is not rushed. Implementation must be co-designed and undertaken through a process of engagement that enables Traditional Owner Corporations and organisations to work with their communities, especially Elders, to ensure proper self-determination of plans and programs.

Water is Life: Traditional Owner Access to Water Roadmap Submission

Water is Life: Traditional Owner Access to Water Roadmap Submission Research

Water is Life: Traditional Owner Access to Water Roadmap Research Case Studies


For further Water policy submissions please see our Impact section.