First: Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority chair Eunice Aston shakes hands with Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder David Papps at the signing of a cultural watering agreement. Photo: Department of Environment.
Ngarrindjeri ruwe and yarluwar-ruwe, country and waters, should be better protected after the signing of an agreement with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on Tuesday.
The agreement sets out ways in which River Murray water set aside for the environment can also be used to benefit the culture of the traditional owners.
For example, water directed into wetlands can be used to grow the reeds used for traditional basket weaving, or support ngatji – totem – species such as pelicans, turtles and river red gums.
The agreement, based on Ngarrindjeri knowledge of the Coorong and Lower Lakes, is the first of its kind anywhere in Australia.
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder David Papps hoped similar agreements with other Aboriginal nations would follow.
“This partnership is another example of the mutual empowerment that can come from environmental watering,” he said.
“Cultural knowledge helps us to make best use of water to benefit the environment.
“It is also anticipated that activities from this partnership will … (create) opportunities (for Ngarrindjeri) to work on country and foster skills in ecology and water management.”
Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority chair Eunice Aston said no organisation in South Australia was better placed to offer advice on the planning, delivery and monitoring of cultural water.
The agreement will run for three years.
Model worth copyingThe ability of the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority to negotiatesuch deals has captured the imagination of the state government.
It will invite South Australia’s otherAboriginal nations to establish their own, similar authorities, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher announced on April 4.
“ARAs (Aboriginal regional authorities) will bring together Aboriginal nations and communities to better represent their people and drive regional priorities and economic growth, as well as giving government more clarity when working with communities on issues impacting on Aboriginal South Australians,” he said.
“Better social, economic and health outcomes can be achieved when Aboriginal people play an active role in the design and delivery of important services, and in the decision-making process generally.”
The South Australian Aboriginal Regional Authority InitiativeThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.