First Nations support

Funding through the National Water Grid Fund will target water security and increasing the availability of clean and safe drinking water in regional and remote First Nations communities.

Listening to First Nations voices

The National Water Grid Authority (NWGA) recognises the importance of First Nations communities playing a role in informing water infrastructure projects.

The NWGA is working to ensure First Nations voices are considered in decision-making, and that projects can draw on their Traditional Knowledge.

The National Water Grid Investment Framework (the Framework) includes a guiding investment principle that project development must include engagement with the First Nations communities of potentially affected areas.

Supporting on the ground projects for safe and reliable water

In October 2022, the Framework was expanded to enable funding for provision of safe and reliable water for regional and remote communities.

Changes to the Framework allow funding to deliver improved water security for First Nations communities, increase resilience to climate change and support cultural needs, community wellbeing, economic participation and sustainable development.

On 13 February 2023, the Australian Government announced $150 million over four years to support First Nations water infrastructure and provide safe and reliable water for remote and regional Indigenous communities through the National Water Grid Fund. This will be targeted at communities that currently do not have access to clean drinking water.

Science for First Nations water security

The changes to the Framework are now also reflected in the NWGA’s Science Strategy. This means the NWGA can deliver applied science projects aimed at improving longer-term water security for remote First Nations communities.

Working across government

Supporting First Nations communities on Country, particularly those in some of the most remote parts of Australia, needs to be a collaborative effort.

In addition to working closely with First Nation communities, the NWGA will work closely with Australian Government agencies and with states and territories to make sure water infrastructure investment is effective and culturally responsive.

This joined up effort is important as increased water security can have flow-on benefits to communities. These benefits include environmental gains, improved health services, new jobs, economic growth, as well as supporting the development of new housing and other infrastructure projects.