Traditional outlook

September 13, 2017

Yorta Yorta man Des Morgan has been employed by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority as environmental water indigenous facilitator.

Yorta Yorta man Des Morgan has been employed as environmental water indigenous facilitator at Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, a job he says will help fulfil his responsibilities as a traditional owner.

Mr Morgan will work with Yorta Yorta and Taungurung elders to devise specific uses for environmental and cultural water.

‘‘For us it’s pretty simple. How you receive the water is how you pass it on and you look after it while it’s on your country,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s my responsibility to the people and the land further down the river.’’

He has been charged with helping to formalise arrangements between traditional owner groups within the catchment and setting up consultative processes surrounding the use of environmental water.

Goulburn Broken CMA chief executive officer Chris Norman said he was thrilled to have Mr Morgan working with the organisation.

‘‘He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to us and we look forward to learning from him,’’ Mr Norman said.

Mr Morgan’s role will involve working with the Murray River, including the river banks at Barmah, which were his home for the first decade of his life.

The Murray River is central to the creation story of Mr Morgan’s people, who believe the river was made when their creator Biami filled the river with his tears.

‘‘He was so relieved when his wife was found in Lake Alexandrina. He had sent his snake Dhungala to find her and his slithering travels set the route of the winding river,’’ Mr Morgan said.

‘‘With that happiness he placed the Yorta Yorta people in their country and set down the laws on how to look after that country and the river.’’

Mr Morgan has previously worked with the Department of Human Services and is now the vice-chairman of the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, where he aims to improve communication between traditional owner groups.

‘‘I will aim to create a space where they feel free to speak plainly and I want to be a facilitator between the groups so there’s always an avenue to discussion rather than conflict,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to talk about the types of plants and fish species we want the water used to regenerate.’’

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