Dear [your local MP’s name will be automatically entered],
This summer we have seen the devastating impacts of taking water from the Darling River. Millions of fish have died while cotton crops are kept green.
This is the fate we need to avoid for the mighty Fitzroy River. However, a Government discussion paper was recently released that outlined options for dams and irrigation that look remarkably similar to the policies that have led to the recent mass fish deaths in the Darling River. This includes gully dams and pumping from the river into storage dams and ring tanks.
The McGowan Government made an election commitment not to allow the Fitzroy River to be dammed, to protect the health of the Fitzroy River, and only support sustainable development. The Government did not commit to allocate water to support big business plans for mass irrigation.
The discussion paper included four main flaws that replicate the failures of the Murray Darling:
- An assumption that the life-giving floods that rejuvenate the river can be captured in dams without impact on the river and wetlands downstream;
- A narrow definition of the ‘no dams’ commitment where dams next to the river, and filled with river water, would not be considered a dam;
- A plan to rely on the same complex and unenforceable regulations that have failed to protect the Darling river. These same regulations have allowed Governments and industry to claim the mass fish deaths on the Darling River are because of drought, not water extraction.
- A drive for irrigated agriculture to underpin development instead of the many sustainable industries that are available, and despite the ample evidence of economic and environmental failure.
Protection of the floodplains and river has been supported by Traditional Owners in the Fitzroy River Declaration, and over 100 leading scientists and researchers in the Fitzroy River Science Statement.
Sustainable options for development exist without taking life-giving floodwaters for irrigation. There are a range of options such as sustenance use, recreational fishing, tourism, bush foods harvest, science and conservation, arts, carbon, education, culture, traditional pastoralism, and, where it is proven to be locally sustainable, small-scale mosaic irrigation from groundwater for pastoral enhancement.
The Fitzroy is one of our last great intact river systems, it is National Heritage Listed for its outstanding cultural values, and is the world’s last stronghold for critically endangered sawfish.
As my local MP, I ask that you support my calls not to take water from the Fitzroy River and its National Heritage listed floodplains, and for a ‘no dams’ policy that would pass the pub test. This is the only solution that will avoid the fate of the Darling River.
[Your name will be automatically added]