9 March was a huge moment for the Fitzroy River. Thanks to community support, the WA Government announced how they would deliver their election commitment to protect the Fitzroy River within this term of Government.
The big announcement was for:
- A new Fitzroy River National Park;
- A management plan for the catchment that includes land use planning that could create a buffer zone for the river;
- A water allocation plan. This will allocate some water to industry and it still remains unclear if the river will be fully protected from allocations.
The announcement came at a meeting in Fitzroy Crossing. It was the first time in history that four Ministers had together travelled to the Kimberley! The Ministers for Environment; Water; Regional Development; and Indigenous Affairs hosted a workshop with stakeholders and Traditional Owners at the Fitzroy Lodge. Martin Pritchard and Jason Fowler from Environs Kimberley, and Tim Nicol from Pew represented the Kimberley campaign.
All four Ministers reiterated the importance of the unique culture and environment of the Fitzroy River and their intent to focus on protecting these values. It was also made clear that ensuring opportunities for Aboriginal people was an important priority.
This is a crucial milestone in protecting the Fitzroy River, and it wouldn’t have been reached without community support.
To make the most of this opportunity we need to make a strong case for real river protection and to prove that an economic future for the region can be achieved alongside protecting the river. Please send a message of encouragement to the Government
We now have a once in a lifetime chance to save one of Australia’s remaining great wild rivers - the world’s last stronghold for the critically endangered Freshwater Sawfish.