Fears for Fitzroy future as billionaires outbid Traditional Owners

Posted on July 14, 2020
Traditional Owners in the Kimberley are outraged that their attempts to buy two pastoral leases on the Fitzroy River for culture, conservation, tourism and cattle are being knocked out of the race by cashed-up billionaire investors.
The Yi Martuwarra Traditional Owners had their native title recognised in 2018 but have no land of their own. They want to be given a chance to work with conservation investors to buy these leases to create sustainable jobs and protect the Fitzroy River.

The Quanbun and Jubilee Downs leases are west of Fitzroy Crossing and include important cultural heritage sites like Alexander Island. The whole river is listed as a cultural site and recognized as National Heritage – and places like Alexander Island are the jewels in the crown.

Yi-Martuwarra Traditional Owner Anthony McLarty said: “The Government promised to support Traditional Owners aspirations for sustainable development and that they will protect the Fitzroy River. We have plans for this land but we can’t compete with billionaires who can pay more than the working value of these properties, now is the time when we need the Government to step up and help.”

It has been flagged that potential buyers could include those who have previously advocated for taking water from the river for irrigation. Existing water requests would use more water than what's used by all of Perth and the Southwest of WA.

Please join us in urging the WA Government to do everything they can to help the Yi Martuwarra Traditional Owners get their land back and to urgently carry out their election commitment to protect the Fitzroy River. Send a message asking Minister Ben Wyatt to intervene.

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