The chairman of a confederation of Indigenous Nations says Aboriginal people have been shut out of the management of water in Australia.

The comments come following a meeting between two Aboriginal peak bodies – the Murray Lower Darling Basin Indigenous Nations and Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations – at a water summit in Canberra last week.

Representatives from almost 50 nations at the meeting began talks on developing a treaty to give the groups a united voice on Indigenous rights issues such as access to water.

Access to water and the state of the Darling River have been major issues affecting communities in NSW. In recent months residents of Wilcannia blockaded the Barrier Highway crossing the river to highlight their concerns about water levels.

Ngintait man and chair of the Murray Lower Darling Indigenous Nations, Darren Perry, said the idea of a treaty was popular across the board.