The first few months of 2023 have been a tumultuous time for people in the Fitzroy Valley, with record floods in the Martuwarra Fitzroy River catchment destroying homes, damaging infrastructure and killing countless animals.
As flood affected communities along the Martuwarra begin to rebuild from these catastrophic floods, it’s critical decision-makers listen to community concerns to understand how best to help.
We must also continue to urge the WA Government that any future developments must be sustainable in the long term and not damage the environmental or cultural values of the catchment.
In December, Minister Simone McGurk, Minister Jackie Jarvis and Minister Don Punch took on new portfolios that will help decide the fate of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River following these devastating floods. They will have a lead role in deciding whether the river will be protected or opened up to damaging large-scale irrigation developments.
The floods have not only highlighted the risk of climate change in the Kimberley, but also the dangers of building irrigation infrastructure on the Martuwarra’s floodplains, which could exacerbate the impact of future flooding.
In the 2017 election, the McGowan Government promised to protect the Martuwarra – now as the community rebuilds from the floods, is the chance to create sustainable, long-lasting economic opportunities with Traditional Owners that protect the unique environmental and cultural values of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River.
Allowing big business to take water for irrigation developments would risk turning the Martuwarra into the next Murray-Darling, which is why it’s crucial that the new Ministers hear from you!
Will you send a message urging decision-makers to work with Traditional Owners to create a sustainable future for the Fitzroy Valley?
Those affected by the devastating floods will need ongoing support for months to come and we also encourage you to continue to help in any way possible. Here is how you can help local organisations assisting with flood relief.
Image taken recently in Fitzroy Crossing shows the extent of damage to the Fitzroy River bridge, roads and erosion to the riverbank. Credit: Josh Schroeder.