Overturning Aqua Nullius: Pathways to National Law Reform

Posted: 5 Jan 2018

Date Written: April 10, 2017


The purpose of this paper is to identify and propose new pathways to reform legal issues affecting Indigenous people in the exercise of their traditional and revitalised rights and interests in water within national and state water regimes. I argue that the exercise of traditional and revitalised laws as expressed in Art 11 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) should be incorporated into Australia’s water laws and policies, in addition to other articles of the Declaration, for example Art 20, for Indigenous peoples to develop economic opportunities in water. These and other relevant international instruments incorporated into Australian law would give expression to the exercise and enjoyment of traditional and revitalised rights to water, economic and cultural property rights and interests, to create substantive pathways for Indigenous First Peoples of Australia.

Keywords: law reform, Indigenous peoples, Australia, water rights and interests, northern development of Australia

Suggested Citation

Marshall, Virginia, Overturning Aqua Nullius: Pathways to National Law Reform (April 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095368

Virginia Marshall (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

HOME PAGE: http://www.anu.adu.au

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