Kat Taylor, Anne Poelina, William Nikolakis, Libby Larsen, and R. Quentin Grafton


Indigenous/Aboriginal water reserves are increasingly used in water allocation plans across northern Australia. Indigenous water reserves aim to address water injustice, but are they the right tool for the job?

This policy brief is for anyone interested in freshwater policy, allocation, and water justice in northern Australia.

The policy brief overviews: (1) aqua nullius, the denial of Indigenous peoples’ water rights (2) Indigenous water reserve policies in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Queensland (3) examples of Indigenous water reserves in Australia and (4) policy benefits, limitations, and options. The report also raises questions aiming to understand policy suitability.

Insights include:
• at least 19 Indigenous water reserves exist across northern Australia;

• Indigenous water reserve features and policy implementation are uneven across Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory; and

• there is little documentation about the success or failures of established water reserves.

Read more: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/280411