GWMWATER has been rewarded in the 2018 Victorian Premier's Sustainability Awards for its work with traditional land owners.
The Horsham-based authority won the environmental justice category for its Memorandum of Understanding with Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation for the South West Loddon Pipeline project.
The authority was one of 10 category award winners announced on Friday.
GWMWater managing director Mark Williams said the group had a similar arrangement with Barengi Gadjin Land Council during work on the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline, and drew from that experience for its latest project.
“The project was devised in 2015-16. The premier and agriculture minister were touring the region and saw the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline, and its benefits for communities challenged by drought,” he said.
“They went across to the Wedderburn area and heard stories of landowners involved in water carting because their dams had gone dry. They made an announcement in April 2016 to fund the South West Loddon Pipeline, and in June that year the federal government also announced funding.”
Mr Williams said the Memorandum of Understanding ensured the cultural heritage of the land involved in the pipeline project was respected.
He said this included taking appropriate actions to make sure no sites of significance were disturbed during the pipeline’s construction.
The memorandum also recognises the role traditional owners play in managing, protecting and promoting cultural heritage.
“The award is very pleasing – Dja Dja Wurrung have been good partners,” Mr Williams said.
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Rodney Carter said the group saw a Memorandum of Understanding as a best-practice model for partnerships with traditional owners on major projects.