Dear Member of the WA State Parliament,
As we respond to the challenging times created by the COVID-19 pandemic we need to ensure we are building towards a future where the health of people and the environment are woven together with creating jobs and economic development.
That is the first reason why I support the creation of the Fitzroy River National Park. This park is being co-designed with Traditional Owners to ensure it supports the culture and environment of the region; and creates new jobs in tourism and land management. It will underpin protection of the environment alongside a more diverse and inclusive economy for the Fitzroy Valley.
A landmark paper by the University of South Australia recently found that there would be more jobs in the Fitzroy Catchment by creating the National Park and encouraging Aboriginal enterprises than by investing more Government funds and effort into supporting irrigation and land clearing. Establishing irrigation with water from the river would degrade the river and other environmental assets and impact on industries like fishing and tourism.
The Fitzroy River is also of very high environmental and cultural significance. It is National Heritage Listed for its Indigenous Cultural values. Also, in a world where 70% of wetlands have been lost or impaired and freshwater wildlife populations have plunged by over 80% since the 1970s, intact rivers like the Fitzroy are rare and precious. This is highlighted by the fact that the Fitzroy River is the last remaining stronghold for the critically endangered freshwater sawfish.
This is the second reason why I support the creation of the Fitzroy River National Park and protection of the Fitzroy River. It is an environment of local, national and global significance.
A strong a diverse North needs a diverse economy and strong conservation measures so that people and nature can thrive together. I urge you to support the Fitzroy River National Park as part of the Plan for Our Parks initiative.
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