Insights from Quadrant

Indigeneity on tap

A press release from the Australian Water Association:

Melbourne’s water businesses have come together to encourage Indigenous Australians to participate in the water industry.

Melbourne Water, South East Water, City West Water and Yarra Valley Water have collectively recruited Terori Hareko-Samios as Senior Project Manager – First Nation Values of Water.

Hareko-Samios will help the water businesses increase their understanding of Indigenous Australians’ connection to Country.

To achieve that goal, since starting in June, Hareko-Samios has led two workshops focusing on cultural knowledge exchange training and First Nation peoples’ connection to land and water.

“I’m enjoying this new role, there’s a commitment and a lot of goodwill to build strong relationships with the First Nation community [and] Traditional Owners and to build First Nation Water Values knowledge,” Hareko-Samios said.

The initiative comes after the Victorian Government announced the first recipients of its Aboriginal Water Grants Program in July.

This aims to improve water outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians by increasing the input of traditional knowledge from Indigenous owners.

City West Water Managing Director David Ryan said it is important to understand how traditional knowledge can be used to enhance water management and ensure Indigenous Australians are represented in the water sector.

“Over generations, First Nation peoples have managed land and water sustainably, and this role will allow us to tap into their centuries of knowledge and experience,” Ryan said.

“It’s vital that as an industry, we recognise the cultural, spiritual and economic connections First Nation peoples have to land, water and resources in their relationship to Country.”


  • Geoffrey Luck

    This is part of the fiction that aborigines were “custodians” of the country. The fact is their numbers were so small they made little impact, changed nothing and used fire to suit their own purposes for hunting. They had neither the knowledge nor the technology to manage land, and especially water sustainably, so this initiative is simply part of the fantasy world pandering to the myth of an aboriginal “civilisation”.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    All about conjuring up pseudo-knowledge to justify the real purpose here – securing water-rights as an extension of land-rights.

    See “Indigenous Australians’ connection to Country” link.

    “It’s hard to validate traditional knowledge; in a science journal, how can I reference my great-great-great-great-great grandfather who showed his descendants and so on about how to protect and care for our waterholes?” Moggridge said.

    [How, indeed?]

    “It’s about seizing opportunities for Indigenous people to show they do have a right to water, and they have knowledge about its management that can add to and improve Western styles of water management.”

    “To give you an idea of what this looks like, Indigenous people own about 20% of the country’s land, much of it in remote and regional areas. However, their water entitlements add up to less than 0.01% of Australian water resources.

    Fuelling this disparity is the fact that although many Indigenous Australian’s have intimate knowledge of this country’s land and water, much of that is hard to quantify.

    A 2008 Australian Human Rights Commission report found that Indigenous water rights are not adequately recognised by laws and policy because Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on water management greatly differ.

    “It’s about seizing opportunities for Indigenous people to show they do have a right to water, and they have knowledge about its management that can add to and improve Western styles of water management.”

  • pgang

    Orwell didn’t even come close to comprehending the folly of the humanist mindset,

  • Blair

    “This aims to improve water outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians …”
    What’s a water outcome?

  • padraic

    Another step in the loss of democratic control of our nation state to a minority group in what should be a unified society.

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Another case of aborigines invented the internet and were the first to use nuclear power. On a good day the entire pre settlement aboriginal population would use about 5 Ml of water for drinking . No washing as they had nothing to wash and little for cooking since they had nothing to cook in. Melboune probably uses 5Ml or more every hour. I am sure we have much to learn if we return to tank water and weekly baths.

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