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I write to urge you to reject Gina Rinehart’s offer to trade off parts of her Fitzroy Valley pastoral lease for a massive water entitlement.
The requested water license of 325 GL would turn Rinehart’s pastoral stations into one of the biggest irrigation properties in the Southern Hemisphere: close to the largest at Cubbie Station cotton farm in the Murray-Darling that uses an average of 200 GL of water per year.
The offer to trade areas of Gina Rinehart's pastoral lease for water does not stack up. The land is not hers to trade. It is owned by the State and therefore people of Western Australia, and the native title holders. Mrs Rinehart only owns the pastoral lease over the land.
The Fitzroy River is part of our National Heritage. It is the last stronghold of the critically endangered freshwater sawfish that would be put at risk of extinction by taking flood waters from the Fitzroy River.
Taking water will also have devastating economic costs. In particular, Aboriginal people who get nearly a quarter of their food from fish and plants around the river would lose food supplies. Land clearing for crops and dams along the Fitzroy River would release thousands of tonnes of carbon.