From Dispossession to Compensation: a political ecology of the Ord Final Agreement as a partial success story for Indigenous traditional owners

Jessica McLean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recent digging of a new channel for water delivery to expand irrigation in the Ord provides a good opportunity for unearthing the native title agreement that allows for intensification of agriculture there. Initial irrigation development in this north-eastern Australian catchment did not include recognition of, consultation with, or distribution of benefits to Indigenous people impacted by dam creation and land flooding. Forming agreement between those affected by previous dispossessions, and associated accumulation of wealth via mining and irrigation, with those initiating such activities was an important and challenging process. The Ord Final Agreement (OFA), formalised in 2006, came from negotiations between Miriuwung and Gajerrong traditional owners and government and private interests. Through qualitative research, I dissect the context and content of the OFA to identify the strengths and weaknesses therein. While the agreement does allow for co-management of significant land- and waterscapes, it does not provide for Indigenous water rights, showing one instance of loose ends and missing links within the Ord.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-355
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Geographer
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • co-management
  • Indigenous people
  • Indigenous water rights
  • Ord Final Agreement
  • political ecology

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