The Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Water Interests (CAWI) includes up to 14 water experts from across the country. Members were chosen for their water expertise, not based on their Nation. They bring a wealth of experience and extensive networks, and:
- understand the importance of water in a cultural context
- are competent in relation to water policy, planning and management, and water markets
- are effective in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
CAWI advises the National Water Reform Committee (NWRC) on First Nations water reform matters. This includes renewing the National Water Initiative. The NWRC is made up of senior officials from federal, state and territory water agencies. They guide the implementation of water policy reform at the national level.
The government has committed a further $700,000 to support the committee to December 2026. The committee advises on water programs, policies, and initiatives relevant to First Nations.
As of August 2023, the following are the current CAWI members:
- Mr Grant Rigney (Co-Chair)
- Mr Rene Woods (Co-Chair)
- Dr Rohan Henry (Co-Deputy Chair)
- Dr Virginia Marshall (Co-Deputy Chair)
- Ms Chontarle Bellottie
- Mrs Cheryl Buchanan
- Mr Ned David
- Mr John Locke
- Ms Darlene Mansell
- Professor Anne Poelina
Note: Member biographies will be updated.
Terms of Reference
CAWI’s terms of reference include advising the National Water Reform Committee, the Australian Government, and Water and Murray–Darling Basin Ministers Council on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Water Interests.
The committee will publish communiques to inform you about the outcomes of their meetings.
Upcoming Committee meetings
|Virtual||5 October 2023|
|In-person - Darwin, NT||30 October to 2 November 2023|
|In-person - Adelaide, SA||13-15 December 2023|
|Virtual||1 February 2024|
|In-person - Gayini, NSW||27-29 February 2024|
|Virtual||3 April 2024|
|In-person - Bendigo, VIC||15-17 May 2024|
|Virtual||10 July 2024|
|In-person - Cape York, QLD||3-5 September 2024|
|Virtual||16 October 2024|
|In-person - Albany, WA||25-29 November 2024|
Contact the committee at CAWI@dcceew.gov.au