Media Release: Call for dialogue on Indigenous water policy 2013
Peter Yu, Chair of North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Limited, (NAILSMA) has supported calls for the NT Government to reinstate the Strategic Indigenous Reserve (SIR) water policy ensuring a foundation for an equitable approach to Indigenous participation in the current and developing economies of the Territory and across northern Australia.
Mr Yu said that the NT Government has the unique opportunity to be the leaders in bringing greater opportunity for development and prosperity in many marginalised Indigenous communities across the Top End.
Mr Yu said ‘the Ken Henry Asian Century White Paper prepared for the Australian Government clearly articulated the challenges of world food security and other issues, and the need for governments and industries to work with communities to consider new policy and reform measures in responding to these increasing demands’.
Mr Yu said the Strategic Indigenous Reserve is a fair and acceptable contemporary method of ensuring the equity participation of Indigenous interests in the economy now and into the future. He said ‘the reality is that while Traditional Owners have significant land interests across the north, we are cash and capital poor. To participate in the mainstream economic opportunities we need to build constructive leverage. The SIR is a legitimate way for a new engagement based on developing economic independence and resilience in those communities so that they become less reliant on public sector outlays’.
‘Traditional Owners make up the majority of the permanent population of north Australia and have more that 40% of the land ownership. This opportunity to reinstate the Strategic Indigenous Reserve in water plans is also one where there can be serious recognition and embracing of Traditional Owners as custodians of the natural estate for all Territorians and Australians alike’.
Mr Yu said that NAILSMA would welcome the opportunity to work with the NT Government and would be writing to offer our assistance in developing further the Strategic Indigenous Reserve policy position as well as exploring other ways to develop policies that might assist both the government and Indigenous community to seek an accommodation of what is after all a common interest.
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