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Water for Victoria: recognising Aboriginal
In a first for Victoria, an environmental flow release into the
Glenelg River has supported both environmental outcomes
as well as Aboriginal cultural values. Supporting Aboriginal
values is a key element of Victoria’s new water plan, Water
Water for Victoria, the first comprehensive statewide water
plan in more than 10 years, will improve water security
for communities, protect Victorian jobs and agriculture,
recognise Aboriginal water values and improve environmental
health. The Plan establishes an Aboriginal Water Program to
help identify Aboriginal values and uses of water, and help
build the capacity of the sector to ensure the involvement of
Water released from Rocklands Reservoir has improved river
health and reduced salinity, at the same time as helping to
sustain the health of country for traditional owners who have
a continual connection to the river system. Aboriginal water
values for the Glenelg River are being identified as part
of a two-year partnership project involving Gunditj Mirring
Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Barengi Gadjin
Land Council and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management
Authority. Making adjustments to planned environmental
water releases to better protect Aboriginal values at culturally
significant locations, such as Harrow, is an important
outcome of the project.
Women in Water: disrupting the status quo
Victoria’s water sector is embracing gender diversity with the
inaugural Women in Water event in Traralgon, which was attended
by more than 150 women from across the local industry in March
2017. The initiative provides a networking and learning opportunity
for women in the water industry, and aims to celebrate the role
women play in the sector.
Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville announced at the event
that the Andrews Labor Government would again co-sponsor the
Peter Cullen Trust leadership program targeted specifically at
women. Neville used the event to outline the Labor Government’s
plan to deliver a diverse and inclusive water sector.
The state’s water plan promotes greater gender diversity, and is
backed by the Labor Government’s achievement in appointing
no less than 50 per cent women to all water corporation boards
across Victoria. Prior to board appointments made in 2015, there
were only three female chairs and 52 female board directors.
Today, women represent 51 per cent of all water board
positions. Yet, in management ranks, women hold 24 per cent
of management roles and 21 per cent of executive roles. In
catchment management authorities, 52 per cent of board
members are women. This was 34 per cent before the last round
of appointments in 2015.
The Labor Government is continuing to drive an all-inclusive
appointment process for the state’s water corporations, with the
aim of increasing the number of skilled female and Indigenous
members at board level. The process is aimed at ensuring water
boards better reflect the diversity of the communities in which they
Trade water report highlights opportunities for
In March 2017, DPI Water announced the first ever in-depth analysis
of the water market in New South Wales – Water Markets in New
South Wales – highlighting how the market has matured, and the
opportunities for government and industry to drive further growth.
DPI Water’s Director of Water Information and Insights, Dr
Christobel Ferguson, says that while the state government
has put in place extensive reforms to improve the operation
and effectiveness of the market, there are opportunities for
both government and industry to further develop the market,
including in information provision, education, data, assessments
and approvals, groundwater trade, trade rules and facilitating
unregulated trade opportunities.
Water Markets in New South Wales, commissioned by DPI Water
and completed by water market economists and experts Aither,
is available at www.water.nsw.gov.au/water-management/water-
Key report findings:
Trade has grown off the back of a range of reforms made by
the New South Wales Government, including the introduction of
Water Sharing Plans.
In the northern basin, the most active surface water entitlement
markets are in the Gwydir, Lachlan and Macquarie rivers.
In the southern basin, there is frequently a greater volume
of general security entitlement trade than high security, and
volumes traded in the Lower Darling are consistently more
modest than in the Murray and Murrumbidgee.
Over the last 15 years, there have been two extreme wet
periods and two extreme dry periods – and the report has
found that water markets were successful in managing these
extremes, and will continue to help water users manage
variability, including minimising the impacts of drought.
Between 2008 and 2013, entitlements were purchased for
the environment, making significant progress towards targets
in the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Reduced water available
for irrigation has further reinforced the importance of water
markets in dealing with this change.
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