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Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forums

LEB 2011 Aboriginal Forum in Tibooburra, NSW. Photo: D Thompson

The Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement requires the appropriate representation of Indigenous interests in the development and implementation of policies and strategies for the Basin.

This is achieved through Aboriginal representation on the Community Advisory Committee and through the Aboriginal Forums. Aboriginal Forums have been held in various rural locations. Further information on each Forum is listed below.

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4th LEB Aboriginal Forum, Tibooburra, NSW, September 2011

The 4th Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum, held from the 13th to 15th of September 2011 in Tibooburra, New South Wales, was attended by nearly 80 people from across the Basin and beyond.

4th Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum Event Summary

Forum Theme:

Water, land and connections across the Lake Eyre Basin - Sharing the journey and passing on knowledge

Forum Goals:


  • Re-establish and form new links and relationships between Aboriginal people and groups across the Basin

The Richness of the Basin

  • Increase and improve understanding of the Basin, its special features, and its importance
  • Share stories of looking after water, land and culture across the Basin

The Lake Eyre Basin Shared Journey

  • Previous Forums - Describe past recommendations and review progress
  • Water and Land Futures - Further shape visions, critical needs and actions for water and land in the Lake Eyre Basin
  • Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Map - Share and shape the Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal map project
  • Young People - Bring our young people into the Lake Eyre Basin journey

3rd LEB Aboriginal Forum, Birdsville, Qld, May 2009

The third Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum was held in Birdsville, Queensland in May 2009. Over 50 Aboriginal people from across the Lake Eyre Basin came together to share their knowledge of culture and land management with 25 non-Aboriginal scientists, historians, conservationists and government officers. The event focussed on sharing information, stories and knowledge about the trade routes that criss-cross the Basin and which originally linked the many diverse Aboriginal language groups in the region through ceremony, songlines, exchange of ideas and material goods. These past links and traditions have strong similarities with the current aims of ensuring a more holistic and collaborative management approach to protecting the values of the Basin.

Facilitated largely by the Aboriginal members of Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee, the forum produced a rich, refreshing and, at times, challenging spectrum of debate and generated a number of recommendations to strengthen Aboriginal involvement and communication in the Lake Eyre Basin.

In response to the recommendations that came out of the 2009 Forum, the Ministerial Forum has formally endorsed:

  • the development of capacity building projects (for example, active participation in cultural mapping in both the Lake Eyre and Great Artesian basins and the production of an Aboriginal map of the Lake Eyre Basin)
  • the need for water planning processes in all Lake Eyre Basin jurisdictions to properly and fully engage Aboriginal people, including through Aboriginal and other community education and participation in the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment, and
  • the need to optimise the use of existing Basin networks and processes to increase opportunities for Aboriginal people to engage with key cultural and natural resource management stakeholders in the Basin.

3rd Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum Report

2nd LEB Aboriginal Forum, Mount Serle, SA, August 2006

The second Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum was held at Mount Serle in the northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, on 22-24 August 2006. The purpose of the forum was:

To strengthen links with Aboriginal people and groups in the Lake Eyre Basin, exchange knowledge and discuss priorities for water and related land issues, and develop collaborations of mutual benefit in implementing the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement.

Download the Second Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum

1st LEB Aboriginal Forum, Hamilton Downs, Alice Springs, NT, October 2004

The first Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum was held at Hamilton Downs Youth Camp near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, on 25th and 26th October 2004, immediately before the second Lake Eyre Basin Biennial Conference. Approximately 30 people attended the Forum, from Alpurrurulam, Hamilton Downs, Alice Springs and Hermannsburg in the Northern Territory, Coober Pedy, Marree, Port Augusta and Adelaide in South Australia, Longreach, Barcaldine and Eulo in Queensland, and Canberra.

The objectives of the forum were to:

  • build relationships among Aboriginal people from different parts of the Basin
  • talk about Aboriginal visions for natural resources in the Basin
  • introduce and discuss the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement
  • discuss Aboriginal involvement in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement.

Five main issues emerged from the forum:

  • partnership, governance and communication
  • Aboriginal membership on the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee
  • Aboriginal cultural awareness for non-Aboriginal people
  • The need for a social and community profile of Aboriginal people in the Basin
  • The importance of educating children and passing on knowledge.