Thursday, 1 June 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: National Reconciliation Week

Ministers statements: National Reconciliation Week

Harriet SHING (Eastern Victoria – Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Minister for Equality) (12:06): I rise today to speak about National Reconciliation Week and the important role that water plays in traditional owner engagement and the sacred connection between country and people. It has been an exceptionally important journey to continue the conversations around connections between people, country and water. To that end I want to congratulate and thank every single traditional owner, corporation, community, family member and group that has been part of the delivery of our nation-leading Water Is Life program.

It was an exceptionally important and profound moment to head to the Budj Bim World Heritage site, located in south-west Victoria, to announce the launch of Water Is Life at a location where 2.5 gigalitres has been returned to Gunditjmara country and to make sure that we continue to build upon the connections that traditional owners have with water, which operates as a heart, as veins, as arteries throughout our countryside. We are making sure that we also deliver on the Yarra strategic plan, the work that we do to engage with people in our urban and regional catchments and the way in which we ensure that traditional owner and First Nations voices are part of the work to deliver an aspirational framework for a better set of connections and recognition and respect of water and country.

I also want to acknowledge and thank all traditional owners who have been part of showing me the impact of flood plain watering – the work that is happening in and around Lindsay and Wallpolla Island to make sure that the largest burial sites in Victoria are getting the environmental water that they need through pumps and through regulators, making sure that the resting place of hundreds of generations of elders is maintained now and into the future. This is our week, the voice for generations, and water is a huge part of that.