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Fullbright scholar to research First Nations water rights

[supplied by Sarah Green, UniSQ]


University of Southern Queensland Law Professor Simon Young was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to research First Nations water rights (Photo: University of Southern Queensland)

A University of Southern Queensland law researcher will head to the United States to investigate First Nations water rights after receiving a 2023 Fulbright Scholarship.


UniSQ Law Professor Simon Young is a First Nations law and policy specialist and will travel to the University of Wisconsin’s Global Legal Studies Center and Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center, to undertake a comparative examination.

“It will be a great privilege to build on my work with First Nations communities and colleagues in Australia by looking for new insights on water law and policy in a country with a strong treaty history and where native title was recognised in 1823,” Professor Young said.


The comparative research of the two countries will explore US First Nations’ water rights, and relevant settlement and regulatory frameworks.


“Australian First Nations have struggled to find recognition of water interests – particularly in the economic and governance dimensions,” Professor Young said.


“The US has a long history and has been navigating these complexities for decades.


“As Australian native title jurisprudence emerges from its restrictive formative years, and policy thinking expands, the US experience is an important source of guidance on how negotiation and regulation frameworks can support the more complex dimensions of First Nations’ water rights.”


Professor Young is part of the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Law and Justice and the Centre for Heritage and Culture. He specialises in public law and First Nations law and policy, having published several books in these fields. 


The 2023 Fulbright Scholar has provided expert advice to various government, non-government and law reform bodies (in Australia and Canada) and collaborates widely with First Nations colleagues and communities in the fields of law and legal education.


“My research on First Nations’ water rights will seek new insights, particularly from the US experience, on how law and policy frameworks can best support First Nations’ aspirations for participation in water management and economic resilience,” Professor Young said.   


Fulbright Scholarships support professional development opportunities in the US and promote cultural and educational exchange between the two countries.


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