In partnership with the Australian Government Department for Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water through the National Water Grid Authority, and with Desert Knowledge Australia, the Goyder Institute delivered a three day forum in Alice Springs from 27-29 June. The forum focussed on bringing diverse groups and organisations from across Australia together to discuss the shared challenges associated with providing clean, safe and secure drinking water to remote communities.
At the forum, First Nations representatives presented a number of gifts to the representatives from the Australian Government attending the forum. The gifts included a ‘coolamon’ – a wooden water carrier – which sat throughout the forum, hearing the stories and absorbing the knowledge being shared. Participants were invited to write messages relating to the provision of water to remote communities and place them in the coolamon.
These messages have now been warmly received by Federal Minister Tanya Plibersek who stated in a social media post that “We’re committed to delivering safe, reliable drinking water to communities right across Australia. It’s simply not ok that in 2023 this isn’t the reality for all.”
Goyder Institute Interim Director, Dr Alec Rolston said “With Minister Plibersek receiving the messages from the participants at the recent forum, we have helped create a direct pathway for First Nations voices and experiences regarding clean, safe and secure water for remote communities to be heard at the highest level. It’s now time for action to ensure that the thousands of people in remote communities across Australia can access healthy water to improve their and their communities lives, and improve the associated health and social benefits that go hand in hand with accessing clean, safe and secure water.
“The Goyder Institute welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement of the first projects to be funded through the $150 million commitment to closing the gap on First Nations water security. We look forward to building on the outputs of the recent forum and hearing about further advances in Closing the Gap on water.”
The images in this article are provided by and used with permission from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
For more information, please contact Interim Director, Dr Alec Rolston