Aboriginal Water Grants

Up to $200,000 is available from Aboriginal Water Grants to properly understand Aboriginal water values, uses, aims and requirements; including cultural heritage.

Aboriginal Water Grants

Aboriginal Water Grants

The Aboriginal Water Grants Program has been developed to implement the government commitments made in Chapter 6 of Water for Victoria.



Aboriginal communities’ connection to country is basic to their sense of identity and cultural continuity. Victoria’s waterways are an important part of country that have been damaged by the development of the state’s water resources. There are opportunities to restore this damage and in doing so enhance Aboriginal communities’ wellbeing. Also, improving Aboriginal Victorian’s access to water resources on country offers important opportunities for economic development.

Objectives of the Aboriginal Water Program are to:

  • Recognise Aboriginal values and objectives of water (Water for Victoria Action 6.1)
  • Include Aboriginal values and traditional ecological knowledge in water planning (Water for Victoria Action 6.2)
  • Support Aboriginal access to water for economic development (Water for Victoria, Action 6.3)
  • Build capacity to increase Traditional Owner and Aboriginal Victorians participation in water management (Water for Victoria, Action 6.4).



The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has co-designed the funding guidelines with the  assistance of the Water for Country Project Control Group, (WFCPCG). The Project Control Group will assist in determining the recommendations for funding allocation. The Department has committed $1,000,000 for the 2017 – 2018 financial year and will fund the following three categories. Projects which enable Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to properly understand Aboriginal water values, uses, aims and requirements; including cultural heritage.

Category 1: Grants are available up to $200,000 which seek to identify Aboriginal values and uses using Aboriginal Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

Category 2: Grants up to $120,000 are also available for organisations to recruit an Aboriginal Water Officer (AWO). This grant will be supported with a position description outlining how the AWO will be used to support Water for Victoria objectives and actions in your organisation.

Category 3: A combination of categories 1 and 2 can be included in an application.


Eligible Projects

Aboriginal Water Grants will fund the following activities;

  • Traditional Owner led projects are a priority for the Aboriginal Water Grants Program
  • Local projects which have commenced but have ceased due the phased nature of those projects and are ready to move to the next phase.
  • Local projects that have concluded an Aboriginal Waterways Assessments (AWAs) and further work has been identified as a result of those assessments
  • Encouragement of broader awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal cultural and customary interests in land, water and natural resources which are led by Traditional Owners
  • Capacity building in Aboriginal communities for Natural Resource Management in water based projects. Examples of previously funded projects can be found under:
    • Recognising Aboriginal Water Values http://ghcma.vic.gov.au.ascet.co/news/article/water-for-victoria
    • Barapa Water for Country http://www.nccma.vic.gov.au


Eligible Applicants

The Aboriginal Water Grants Program is open to the following organisations and individuals can apply directly to DELWP.

  • Victorian Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians
  • Aboriginal Groups and their partners who are involved in riverway and, waterway health
  • Victorian members of the Murray Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, (MLDRIN)
  • Traditional Owner members of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, (FVTOC)
  • Catchment Management Authorities, (CMAs)
  • Water Corporations, (WC)
  • Grants are open to anyone across Victoria, however strong demonstrable relationships must be evidenced with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians

Applicants must

  • Be not for profit and registered as an incorporated body at the time of application and for the project duration. If an applicant is not a registered as an incorporated body, it must arrange for a legally constituted organisation to manage the grants funding.
  • Possess an Australian Business number (ABN) or provide a completed Australian Tax Office form, (statement by supplier) so that no withholding tax is required from the grant payment.



Applications close 7 February 2018.


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