Fitzroy Disaster Letter Text

I am writing to express my strong support to your landmark election commitment to protect the National Heritage listed Fitzroy River, and to reject the Federal Government’s recently released plan for a massive expansion of industrial-scale agriculture and irrigation in the river catchment.

If allowed to proceed, the Federal Government plan that was supported by the Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment would fundamentally change the ecological, cultural and demographic landscape of the Fitzroy Valley; bring on another Murray–Darling style social, economic and ecological disaster; and become another black hole for taxpayer subsidies.

In the McGowan Government’s 'Plan for the Kimberley' a much more sensible future for the Fitzroy River is planned. This election commitment states that WA Labor will work with Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to ensure the protection of the National Heritage and other significant cultural and environmental values of the Fitzroy River and provide a basis for sustainable development.” This is to be done through the protection and development of a management plan to ensure the health of the river and provide a basis for sustainable development, alongside no dams and the Fitzroy River National Park.

The election commitment encourages sustainable development based around the protection of the cultural and environmental values.  I believe this is the right approach for the river. In addition to being National Heritage listed for its outstanding cultural values, the river is home to a number of threatened species including the critically endangered freshwater sawfish. This species, and many others, are extremely vulnerable to changes in the water balance in the river.

I support you in working towards protecting the cultural and environmental values of the river and promoting economic development that is complementary to protecting the river, and that will benefit the people who live in the region over outside investors and foreign corporations.

I encourage you to use the election commitment to permanently protect the Fitzroy River from a disastrous Murray–Darling style future through a strong and enforceable protection regime for the whole of the Fitzroy River.

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