The role of the Yorta Yorta people in clarifying the common interest in sustainable management of the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia
The Murray–Darling Basin incorporates Australia’s three longest rivers and spans four states and one territory. It is important for an agricultural industry worth more than AUS$9 billion per year, but is also the life source and the spirit of the Indigenous Yorta Yorta people. Here, we address whether the interests of the Yorta Yorta people can encompass the common interest of the wider community in the Basin, and how the colonial legacy and climate change of the past century continue to influence the realization of the common interest moving forward. We find that shared regional governance with an agreed outcome supports the ongoing sustainability of the country and its people, but because of the legal history of Australia since colonization, recognition and mutual respect are no less important. Further, we note that the increasing climatic variability and changing climatic mechanisms that now exemplify the southeast of Australia corroborates the need for adaptive planning with longer time horizons. These lessons are supported by the customary law and practice of the Yorta Yorta people.
KeywordsIndigenous knowledge Problem definition Common interest
This work would not have been possible without the contributions from the project team, including Neville Atkinson, Denise Morgan, Kate Auty, Gordana Marin, Xuan Zhu, Mark Harris, and Craig Hammer. In addition, the importance of the participation, support, and interest of the Yorta Yorta Elders Council cannot be overestimated. This work has been supported in part by the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research and by Brown University.
- Asch, M., & Macklem, P. (1991). Aboriginal rights and Canadian sovereignty: An essay on R v. Sparrow. Alberta Law Review, 29, 498–511.Google Scholar
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010b) Water account Australia 2008–09, Catalogue 4610.0. ABS, Canberra.Google Scholar
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2010a) Australian Bureau of Statistics 1310.0 Year Book of Australia, 2009–10. (Expanded online version accessed from http://www.abs.gov.au).
- Ballinger, A., Mac, Nally. R., & Lake, P. S. (2005). Immediate and longer-term effects of managed flooding on floodplain invertebrate assemblages in south-eastern Australia: generation and maintenance of a mosaic landscape. Freshwater Biology, 50, 1190–1205. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01391.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Beesley, L. S., Howard, K. M., Joachim, L., & King, A. J. (2010). Cultural conservation of freshwater turtles in Barmah-Millewa forest. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 203, Department of Sustainability and the Environment, Government of Victoria. 42 pp.Google Scholar
- Broome, R. (2005). Aboriginal victorians. A history since 1800. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin. 467 pp.Google Scholar
- Brunne, R., D., & Lynch, A. H. (2010) Adaptive governance and climate change. AMS Press. 424 pp.Google Scholar
- Clark, I. (1990) Aboriginal languages and clans: An historical atlas of western and central Victoria 1800–1900. Monash Publications in Geography, no 37. 243 pp.Google Scholar
- Clark, S. G. (2008). Ensuring greater yellowstone’s future: Choices for leaders and citizens. New Haven: Yale University Press. 303 pp.Google Scholar
- Connell, D. (2007). Water Politics in the Murray-Darling Basin. Sydney: The Federation Press.Google Scholar
- CSIRO, 2011: South Eastern Australian climate initiative program annual report 2010/11. CSIRO, Australia.Google Scholar
- Dei, G. (1993). Sustainable development in the African context: Revisiting some theoretical and methodological issues. African Development, 18(2), 97–110.Google Scholar
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) (2011) Murray Darling Basin. http://www.environment.gov.au/water/locations/murray-darling-basin/index.html updated 14 September 2011, accessed 19 September 2011.
- Hansen, D. O., & Erbaugh, J. M. (1987). The social dimension of natural resources management. In D. D. Southgate & J. F. Disinger (Eds.), Sustainable resources development in then Third World (pp. 81–94). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Kingsford, R. T., Brandis, K., Thomas, R. F., Crighton, P., Knowles, E., & Gale, E. (2004). Classifying landform at broad spatial scales: The distribution and conservation of wetlands in New south wales, Australia. Marine and freshwater research, 55(1):17–31.Google Scholar
- Kreutzwiser, R., de Loe, R., Imgrund, K., Conboy, M. J., Simpson, H., & Plummer, R. (2011). Understanding stewardship behaviour: Factors facilitating and constraining private water well stewardship. Journal of Environmental Management., 92, 1104–1114. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.11.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lasswell, H. D., & Kaplan, A. (1950). Power and society: A framework for political inquiry. New Haven: Yale University Press. 295 pp.Google Scholar
- MacNally, R., Cunningham, S. C., Baker, P. J., Horner, G. J., & Thomson, J. R. (2011) Dynamics of Murray-Darling floodplain forests under multiple stressors: The past, present, and future of an Australian icon. Water Resources Research 47:W00G05. doi: 10.1029/2011WR010383.
- Murray–Darling Basin Authority (2011) Murray Darling Basin Draft Plan, 2011. Accessed from http://www.mdba.gov.au/draft-basin-plan on 5 December 2011. (Commonwealth of Australia), MDBA publication no: 192/11, ISBN (print): 978-1-921783-18-0, 210 pp.
- National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology (2011) Frequent heavy rain events in late 2010/early 2011 lead to widespread flooding across eastern Australia. Special Climate Statement 24.Google Scholar
- Norton, B. (2002) The ignorance argument: What must we know to be fair to the future. In Bromley and Paavalo (Eds.) Economics, ethics, and environmental policy: Contested choices (pp 35–52). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Overton, I. C., & Saintilan, N. (eds) (2010). Ecosystem response modeling in the murray-darling basin. Melbourne: CSIRO. 427 pp.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, H. 1992: The Law of the Land 3–4 (2nd ed).Google Scholar
- Ross, A., Sherman, R., Snodgrass, J. G., & Delcore, H. D. (2010). Indigenous peoples and the collaborative stewardship of nature: Knowledge binds and institutional conflicts. CA, USA: Left Coast Press. 304 pp.Google Scholar
- Solow, R. M. (1993). Sustainability: An economists perspective. In R. Dorfman & N. Dorfman (Eds.), Economics of the environment: Selected readings (pp. 179–187). New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Stanner, W. E. H. (1989) (1963) On Aboriginal religion. University of Sydney, Sydney.Google Scholar
- Strelein, L. (2005). From Mabo to Yorta Yorta: Native Title Law in Australia. Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, 19, 225–272.Google Scholar
- Strelein, L. (2009) Compromised jurisprudence: Native title cases since Mabo. Canberra ACT, Australia: Aboriginal Studies Press).Google Scholar
- Timbal, B. (2009) The continuing decline in south-east Australian rainfall: Update to May 2009. CAWCR Research Letters, 2, 4–10.Google Scholar
- Vanek, E. (1989) Enhancing resource management in developing nations through improved attitudes towards indigenous knowledge systems: The case of the World Bank. In D. M. Warren, L. J. Slikkerveer and S. O. Titiilola (Eds.) Indigenous knowledge systems: Implications for agricultural and international development, studies in technology and social change, No. 11 (pp 162–170). Iowa: Iowa State University.Google Scholar
- Warren, D. M. (1991). Using indigenous knowledge in agricultural development. World Bank Discussion Paper No. 127. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. 46pp.Google Scholar
- Weiss, J. A. (1989). The powers of problem definition: The case of government paperwork. Policy Sciences, 22, 97–121.Google Scholar
- Williams, J. (2011) Understanding the Basin and its dynamics. In D. Connell and R.Gq. Grafton (Eds.)Basin Futures: Water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. Canberra: ANU E Press. 477 pp.Google Scholar