First Peoples' Water Engagement Council (FPWEC)


First Peoples' Water Engagement Council (FPWEC)


The First Peoples' Water Engagement Council (FPWEC) was established to provide advice to the National Water Commission (NWC) on national Indigenous water issues, a priority envisaged under the National Water Initiative (NWI).


The FPWEC was established because consecutive Biennial Assessments in 2009 and 2011 by the National Water Commission found that states and territories' failed to incorporate effective strategies for achieving Indigenous social, spiritual and customary objectives in water plans.

Similarly, the "Windsor Inquiry" by the House Standing Committee on Regional Australia into the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in Regional Australia noted the high levels of disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal peoples of the basin and their under-representation in the MDB Authority's draft plan: "There is obvious benefit and need for greater involvement of the Basin’s Aboriginal people in water planning processes, especially in the development and implementation of the Environmental Watering Plan. In addition to improving the level of involvement in water planning, consideration should be given to finding novel and innovative ways to provide for cultural water managed by Aboriginal people, such as the creation of cultural water holdings or periodic access to water..." (Cth. 2011 4.24 p.80)

The mission of the FPWEC was to investigate how to improve the indigenous access to water for cultural and economic purposes in water planning and management Australia. They held their first meeting in June 2010 and met on eight occasions until June 2012 culminating in a First Peoples' National Water Summit in Adelaide, March 2012. Feedback and endorsement from the summit fed into Policy Advice to the National Water Commission delivered to the Commission by FPWEC on 30 May 2012.


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