The Australian Water Association (AWA) and Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) organised an exclusive National Reconciliation Week 2023 webinar with the theme, "Be a Voice for Generations." The webinar aimed to share knowledge and experiences to all Australians and explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The event featured three generations of experts, leaders, and community members who shared their experiences working in the water industry and challenged the water sectors’ role in advancing reconciliation. The webinar was attended by more than 170 participants from across the water sector and so many lovely greetings and support from more than 40 countries, Awabakal, Warimi, and others.

The webinar began with an Acknowledgement of Country and a tribute to Traditional Owners of the land from Savannah Fynn, Youth Representative of the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council. The panelists, including Veronica Murphy from Sydney Water, David Kirby from Brewarrina Shire Council in NSW, and Hmalan Hunter-Xenie from Power and Water Corporation in Darwin, shared their personal experiences and touching stories about their career growth, significant changes, how they have been involved in the water sector and advancing reconciliation. They also discussed the challenges and opportunities that they have encountered in their respective roles.

The discussion highlighted the importance of listening to and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, respecting their culture and knowledge, and building meaningful partnerships and relationships. It also emphasised the need for systemic change in the water sector to address the historical and ongoing injustices experienced by First Nations/First peoples, including access to clean water, land rights, and self-determination.

Sharing from our facilitator Danielle Francis: ‘Thanks to our panellists for sharing their stories. I came away inspired about the importance of reconciliation, and the need to celebrate and highlight the great work being done by and with Aboriginal people in our industry. My key take-out is to be a good ally, and use my voice for good.’

2 Jun 2023

Rose Nguyen

Rose Nguyen

Communications Advisor