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Yamatji Nation and DWER partner to train Traditional Owners in water management

Zak Kirkup -

The Yamatji Nation, in collaboration with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), this week launched a groundbreaking initiative to monitor and manage the water resources of their region.

The strategic partnership, highlighted by the recent contract with the newly established Yamatji Water Company aims to "enhance the economic independence and self-determination of the Yamatji people" through the development of local water resources.

Under this initiative, funding has been earmarked to facilitate a training program at Central Regional TAFE, enabling the development of a skilled workforce among the Yamatji people.

The program will prepare participants to provide monitoring services not only for DWER but also for other government agencies and private sector clients.

The training will encompass various aspects of water resource management, integrating traditional knowledge with modern environmental practices to foster sustainable stewardship.

Acting Director of Regional Services at DWER, Fleur Coaker emphasised the importance of this training.

"The training of Yamatji water monitors is a key element of our partnership, ensuring that Yamatji people are not only participants but future leaders in the sustainable management of their water resources," she said.

This reflects a broader commitment from the WA government to creating opportunities for Aboriginal people and integrating their traditional ecological knowledge into contemporary environmental management.

Luka Gray, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Yamatji Southern Regional Corporation (YSRC), expressed pride in the project's success.

“YSRC is proud to be working closely with DWER and the Yamatji Water Company in delivering opportunities for Yamatji people to create careers that involve working on country," he said.

The project aligns with the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) signed in 2020 with a package of benefits that compensates Yamatji people for acts that have impaired or extinguished their Native Title.

This collaboration not only marks a significant advancement in the partnership between the Yamatji Nation and the State Government but also represents a substantial step towards reconciliation, sustainable development, and the empowerment of Indigenous communities through meaningful economic independence and self-determination.

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