The Government is now operating in accordance with the Caretaker Conventions pending the outcome of the 2022 federal election.

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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Murray-Darling Basin Aboriginal Water Entitlements Program

The Australian Government is providing $40 million to help Indigenous communities in the Murray-Darling Basin to invest in water for cultural and economic activities through the Aboriginal Water Entitlements Program (AWEP). $20 million has been dedicated to the northern Murray-Darling Basin and the remaining $20 million to the south. Transfer of the program from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to the National Indigenous Australians Agency was agreed in late October 2021.

The $40 million commitment was announced as part of a package of initiatives to support implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The funding will empower local Indigenous communities to purchase water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin to support economic outcomes and sustain cultural connections. This will also enable Indigenous Australians to utilise their knowledge and connection to Country to contribute to managing and restoring waterway health and to generate economic activity.

The NIAA recognises the deep expertise held by Indigenous Australians in relation to water management and is committed to working with key partners to co-design a delivery model for the program. This important consultation will also inform program milestones.

For information on Murray-Darling Basin Indigenous River Rangers, please refer to Indigenous Ranger Programs. For information on Indigenous water interests and water markets in the Murray-Darling Basin refer to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Water for First Nations people and how allocations work in the Murray-Darling Basin.

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