The connection between Aboriginal people in Bendigo and water will be further recognised following the announcement today of the first round of recipients of a new program funded by the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today congratulated the Djadanak – DDW collaboration on “To know water – KAPA Gatjin” for receiving funds under the inaugural Aboriginal Water Grants Program, which supports Aboriginal participation in water management to improve outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

The Labor Government is providing $319,300 to support a collaboration for the Bendigo Creek Project.

This funding will be used to support an additional phase of the project, promote opportunities for Aboriginal values and uses at the Tang Tang Swamp, and employ an Aboriginal Water Officer to help support the project with Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal people to better understand Aboriginal water values.

This statewide program, in partnership with Traditional Owners across Victoria, aims to support spiritual and cultural uses of water, and create employment opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians.

It will also support the self-determination of Traditional Owners by prioritising projects that best meet their needs regarding water management on Country.

The grants support initiatives that enable Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to work in water management, and understand and promote Aboriginal water values, uses, aims and requirements, including:

  • Recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water.
  • Include Aboriginal values and traditional ecological knowledge in water planning.
  • Increase the participation of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in water management.

Grants of up to $200,000 were made available to initiatives that seek to identify and use Aboriginal waster values and traditional ecological knowledge, and up to $120,000 for organisations who recruit an Aboriginal water officer.

Aboriginal communities’ connection to Country plays a large part in cultural continuity, with the Victorian waterways playing an important role in their sense of identity.

The Labor Government’s Water For Victoria policy sets out ways to promote water security and protect jobs, agriculture, and the environment and recognise Aboriginal water values.

The Labor Government also introduced legislation that requires all water management to have regard for Aboriginal uses and values of waterways or traditional ecological knowledge in managing these natural assets.

The list of grant recipients for the first round of these grants is available at water.vic.gov.au/aboriginal-values/the-aboriginal-water-program. Future rounds will be announced in due course.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville

“Congratulations to the Djadanak – I look forward to seeing the results of this important work.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“The ‘To know water, KAPA Gatjin’ project will help promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Bendigo by reconnecting them to water for cultural, economic, customary and spiritual practices – that help keep our community strong.”

Posted by:Maree Edwards MP