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Aboriginal partnerships

The health of the Basin benefits from meaningful partnerships with Traditional Owners. Traditional Owners in the Basin are involved in water research, planning and management through equitable, inclusive and respectful partnerships.

The Aboriginal Partnerships Action Plan will deliver on the Basin Plan's statutory provisions which require Aboriginal interests to be considered in ongoing water planning, management and monitoring activities. Our approach will also contribute to the 'Closing the Gap' objectives.

Empowering Aboriginal voices

We provide support to the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) and the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN). They are the 2 peak Traditional Owner-based organisations in the Basin with a primary focus on natural resource management. This makes them invaluable partners in delivering better environmental outcomes.

MLDRIN was formed in 1998 and NBAN was formed in 2010. They are independent, self-determining organisations collectively comprised of delegates from 46 member Nations. These organisations promote the views and perspectives of Aboriginal people on water research, policy and management.

Through these relationships we have been able to work together to develop, use and promote a number of research tools to support and achieve the requirements of the Basin Plan.


MLDRIN comprises Traditional Owner nominated representatives from the following southern Nations:

Barapa Barapa, Barkindji, Dhudhuroa, Dja Dja Wurrung, Latji Latji, Maraura, Mutti Mutti, Nari Nari, Ngarrindjeri, Ngintait, Nyeri Nyeri, Tatti Tatti, Taungurung, Wadi Wadi, Wamba Wamba, Waywurru, Wegi Wegi, Wergaia , Wiradjuri, Wolgalu, Wotjobaluk, Yaitmathang, Yita Yita and Yorta Yorta.


NBAN comprises Traditional Owner nominated representatives from the following northern Nations:

Barkindji (Paakintji), Barunggam, Bidjara, Bigambul, Budjiti, Euahlayi, Gamilaroi, Githabul, Gunggari, Gwamu (Kooma), Jarowair, Kambuwal, Kunja, Kwiambul, Maljangapa, Mandandanji, Mardigan, Murrawarri, Ngemba, Ngiyampaa, Wailwan, Wakka Wakka

Recognising Aboriginal values

We work with NBAN and MLDRIN to help raise public awareness about Aboriginal interests and concerns relating to water. We have put a lot of effort into collecting and sharing Aboriginal information across the Basin using appropriate methods and with proper consent.

We are working with Traditional Owners to develop resources to complement and build a greater appreciation of Aboriginal water related values and uses. These resources will support the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and the Basin states' engagement with Aboriginal people. They will also help with Aboriginal people's involvement in operational watering decisions and water planning.

Strengthening Connections Plan

The Strengthening Connections Plan is our first Reconcilliation Action Plan (RAP). The RAP is a strategic plan for all staff of the MDBA, aimed at improving relationships, showing respect and increasing opportunities to deliver outcomes for Aboriginal people as a part of our business.

The plan outlines our vision as well as a work program, which will be implemented over 3 years, to contribute to connecting with Aboriginal culture through relationships, respect and opportunities.

Updated: 08 Jan 2018