Melbourne Water respectfully acknowledges the Bunurong, Gunaikurnai, Taungurung, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and water on which we rely and operate. We pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
We recognise and respect the continued cultural and spiritual connections that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with the land and water they have cared for and protected for thousands of generations.
We demonstrate our ongoing commitment to reconciliation through our partnerships with Traditional Owners and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as we work together to manage land and water now and into the future, while maintaining and respecting cultural and spiritual connections.
Melbourne Water’s Connection to Country
Bunurong, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung represent the majority of the land within Melbourne Water’s operating area. Gunaikurnai and Taungurung represent smaller parcels of land bordering Melbourne Water’s service area. The Thomson Reservoir, on Gunaikurnai Country, is filled by rainfall received by the surrounding catchment. It transfers water to the Upper Yarra Reservoir, which in turn supplies Silvan Reservoir, with water then distributed across greater Melbourne. Wallaby Creek, on Taungurung Country, is an essential component of Melbourne’s water supply system, providing high quality water to greater Melbourne via the Yan Yean Reservoir.
Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
Melbourne Water has come a long way in our journey towards reconciliation but recognises there is still much work to be done. We are proud of the steps we have taken through the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plans and through our partnerships with Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Innovate III Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is our third RAP and sets out what we're committed to doing to bring reconciliation and create social, economic and cultural change. Over the last three years we have focused on developing our relationships with our Traditional Owner partners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by growing our understanding of cultures and connections to Country and developing key plans in procurement, employee wellbeing and cultural awareness. We want to move closer to making reconciliation business as usual by embedding these three key plans.
Development of our latest RAP focussed on collaboration and listening to our partners and people. These fundamental principles will continue to guide us through implementation and beyond. Traditional Owner organisations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and communities, as well as Melbourne Water staff, were all involved early in the process and given a range of opportunities to provide feedback and shape the direction of the RAP.
Our RAP showcases the Traditional Owners partners, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander businesses and communities that Melbourne Water works with.
Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC)
In July 2022, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and Melbourne Water signed a co-developed Partnership Agreement.
The agreement provides a pathway for us to talk about and work on ten priority commitments of mutual interest – from improved cultural understanding, recognising GLaWAC as our sovereign partner in land and water management and to start the discussion about water justice.
The Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and Melbourne Water Partnership Agreement outlines our shared purpose, guiding principles and agreed priorities.
Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC)
In June 2023, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) and Melbourne Water signed their partnership Agreement Wunggurwill Ngitj – which means Strong together.
This Partnership Agreement sets out the framework under which Melbourne Water and Wadawurrung will work together to support and implement the Paleert Tjaara Dja Wadawurrung Country Plan across the yulluks (waterways), Dja (Country) and skies of Wadawurrung Country.
Our ‘spirit of partnership’ agrees to recognise, respect, appreciate and support Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, Wadawurrung Culture and Wadawurrung’s role in making decisions for and looking after Wadawurrung Dja (Country). We will work together to build capacity, develop skills, share knowledge and technology, educate, strengthen, and share culture and provide a strong economic foundation through rights to Wadawurrung Country for Wadawurrung people.