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Water in northern Australia a history of Aboriginal exclusion

Liz Macpherson and colleagues write in The Conversation (2.8.16) about the history of water allocation and resource management in the northern, largely undeveloped parts of Australia, and how Indigenous people have for most of the period since colonisation been excluded from this process.

'In May, the Northern Territory government granted a major water licence for a cattle station near Pine Creek, west of Kakadu National Park, to use almost 14 billion litres of water a year to irrigate crops.

'In response, the Northern Land Council, which represents Aboriginal landholders, called for a moratorium on all further water allocations in the Territory, claiming the government had not fully consulted the community about the licence.

'As we document in a new paper, this kind of debate has been happening ever since the colonisation of northern Australia, often on the premise that the north’s water resources are “wasted” without more economic development and subsequent increases in settler populations.'


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