- Formal agreement to investigate groundwater resources on Yawuru country signed with Traditional Owners
- Formal TAFE qualifications developed to recognise Yawuru Country rangers' skills in surface and groundwater monitoring
- Agreement recognises the importance of culture and connection to country to Aboriginal people's wellbeing
- Investigation will gather important data and inform groundwater management in the region
A formal agreement to investigate groundwater resources on Yawuru country, the first of its kind, has been signed between the Yawuru (Native Title) Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) in Broome and the State Government. Water Minister Dave Kelly met with the PBC last week to formally acknowledge the agreement.
Yawuru people are the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters in and around Rubibi (the town of Broome) from Bangarangara to the yalimban (south) to Wirrjinmirr (Willie Creek) to the guniyan (north), and banu (east) covering Roebuck Plains and Thangoo pastoral leases, in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia.
Yawuru Traditional Owners will work with staff from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) to investigate and monitor groundwater and surface water resources as part of the La Grange Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems project where it falls within Yawuru country.
The project will determine the relationship between groundwater in the Broome and Wallal aquifers and dependent ecosystems from Broome to Port Hedland, in the La Grange groundwater sub-areas, and will directly inform local groundwater resource management.
As part of the Collaboration Agreement, the project team has also worked with North Regional TAFE to develop a Certificate II in Water Monitoring which will enable Yawuru Country rangers to acquire formal qualifications that recognise their skills in surface and groundwater monitoring.
An agreement has been signed based on the strong working relationship DWER has with Yawuru through their work in the Broome region, and recognises and supports Yawuru's connection to culture, country and heritage.
Yawuru Country Rangers will play a major role in the collection and analysis of data, helping build capacity and skills, and support the management of their country and water systems.
Nyamba Buru Yawuru (NBY) was recently issued with a three gigalitre groundwater licence on Roebuck Station for an irrigation project. The monitoring expertise being developed through this collaboration will assist NBY's capability in becoming a commercial water user and support its capacity to deliver on its monitoring commitments.
This investigation is one of the 18 current projects funded by the McGowan Government, through the State Groundwater Investigation Program. Groundwater information collected through these projects assists the management of WA's groundwater resources.
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"This agreement will support the Yawuru people to fulfill their cultural responsibilities to look after country including culturally significant groundwater and ecosystems.
"The Yawuru people have a key role in the important investigation of groundwater resources located on their country.
"The agreement will also build the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's capacity to analyse and manage our precious groundwater resources on Yawuru country."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"As the Member for Kimberley I am proud to see the Yawuru people afforded the key role in the important investigation of groundwater resources located on their country.
"I look forward to following how this partnership with the State Government will support Yawuru people to build capacity and skills to help with their management of their country and water systems."
Minister's office - 6552 6100