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Baaka water commission bid

Monday, 30th September, 2019

BNTGC CEO Derek Hardman BNTGC CEO Derek Hardman

The Barkindji Native Title Group Corporation has proposed a new multi-agency, decision-making leadership body to better connect government and Traditional Owner groups along the Darling/Baaka River.

The ‘Baaka Water Commission’ would bring together leaders at ministerial and departmental level from across governments, and would include the NSWALC (Aboriginal Land Council), National Indigenous Australians Agency, NSW DPIE -Water, Environment and Fisheries departments, as well as the MDBA, amongst others.

The BNTGC has also proposed to implement any reforms through a “Registered Native Title Body Corporate Implementation Unit”, a single entity acting on behalf of stakeholders at every level, with the Group now seeking government investment for it.

The Baaka Water Commission would oversee the Implementation Unit, and the two would pull together evidence across government, the service sector and academia, from Australia and overseas, to deliver support that meets the needs of the Baaka Water Community.

“The underpinning is to place vulnerable communities and environments along the Baaka at the forefront of decision making, while implementation entails a redesign of systems and processes to better meet their needs and improve outcomes along the Baaka for all the Baaka Water Community,” said the BNTGC.

“Considering the poor state of our Darling Baaka River system we have an opportunity to work together, to bring experts, governments and Traditional owners together to bring our waterways back to life.

“We put forward that the way to achieve this is through the formation of the Baaka Water Commission - an entity that gives us all an equal voice with the best interests of the health of our beautiful life-giving Baaka and the individuals, communities and livelihoods that rely on it!

“We have the cultural right to speak for our Baaka and do so under Traditional Lore in our attempt to make a lasting difference for the generations who will become custodians to our scared and ancient lands and waters in to the future. 

“The Baaka Water Commission is in no terms also any form of compensation for the injustices, mismanagement, and any act of discrimination against the Barkandji Native Title Holders and their rights. 

“Let’s share the journey as one in Unity and make Respectful, informed, accurate, meaningful, realistic, achievable, resourced, measurable, humanistic, environmental, social, emotional, economical, change that is Holistic to the wellbeing of the Baaka Water Community.”  

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