First Nations programs

"Together we will walk as one"

Engaging with First Nations People

We acknowledge the very strong cultural and spiritual connection of Aboriginal communities to the lands, waters and rivers that we live and work upon and we are committed to improving how we engage with First Nations people across all aspects of our operations and projects.

At WaterNSW our First Nation program encompasses:

RAPOur Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

- Innovate RAP – 2023-25 (PDF, 3013.99 KB)
- First Nations Yarning Circle advisory group
- Ngulaway RAP working group
- Reflect RAP – 2021-22 (PDF, 4770.44 KB)

WaterNSW Innovate RAPFirst Nations WaterNSW employment opportunities

- Expressions of interest

WaterNSW Innovate RAPFirst Nations community engagement

- Cultural heritage engagement - projects and maintenance
- Cultural events calendar
- Aboriginal support network

WaterNSW Innovate RAPStrategic partnerships and agreements

- Co-design principles
- Aboriginal Water Strategy
- Intergovernmental partnerships
- Land access agreements
- Native Title

WaterNSW Innovate RAPCultural competency and awareness training

- Level 1 - Aboriginal cultural awareness
- Level 1 – Aboriginal cultural heritage management
- Level 2 – Aboriginal cultural heritage management

Innovate RAP

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Innovate RAP will reinforce our achievements made delivering our Reflect RAP and continue to build on the cultural competency of our employees to create a culturally safe environment for all First Nations people. We will continue to ensure that reconciliation is embedded in our business frameworks and delivered as part of our core business to drive better outcomes for the communities across our operations throughout the state, so “together we walk as one”.

Download a copy of the WaterNSW Reconciliation Action Plan or contact us for a hardcopy.


WaterNSW CEO, Andrew George

As operators of the States Dams and regulated waterways, WaterNSW has an immense responsibility to operate these assets, which includes more than 40 dams across the state, to meet the needs of our customers and local communities. The water we supply supports more than 8 million people across NSW and we are also required to respond to the challenges of drought, floods and climate change.

Advancing First Nations engagement within WaterNSW has provided us with the opportunity to look, listen and learn about our operations from the perspectives of First Nations people. It has been a privilege to gain a deeper understanding of how First Nations people continue their custodianship toward the ongoing management and health of waterways.

We recognise and acknowledge that First Nations people have a deep cultural, physical, and spiritual connection to water and land. Through our Reflect RAP, we have gained a greater appreciation and a deepening understanding of that connection. Our Innovate RAP will now guide us to embed and strengthen the impact of the reconciliation work we’ve started.

I am proud of what we have achieved in our first RAP – Reflect, and believe we can continue to strengthen our relationship and partnerships with First Nations communities. We are also committed to further developing employment and procurement pathways to support the improvement of cultural, social and economic outcomes within First Nations communities.

The Reflect RAP provided us with the necessary cultural competency and understanding through cultural training, storytelling, celebrating cultural events and building long-term partnerships with First Nations communities, organisations and suppliers.

The implementation of our Innovate RAP will now reinforce our achievements, continuing to build on the cultural competency of our employees and create a culturally safe environment for all First Nations people. We will continue to ensure that reconciliation is embedded in our business frameworks and delivered as part of our core business.

I want to recognise our First Nations Programs and Engagement team, whose leadership has ensured that Reconciliation remains at the forefront of our organisation’s work with First Nations communities.

And, we would like to thank Reconciliation Australia, our RAP Working Group members and the First Nations communities of NSW for their time and commitment in supporting WaterNSW’s delivery of our first Reflect RAP.  We look forward to continuing our relationships and partnerships, on our reconciliation journey.

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more