Congratulations to you and the WA Government on the release of the key principles for the draft Fitzroy River Water Allocation Plan, and for listening to the community on the need to protect the surface water flows of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River.
This is a milestone step towards the Labor Government’s 2017 election promise to protect the Martuwarra Fitzroy River.
You have my strong support for the principle of no further surface water take from the Martuwarra Fitzroy River, which will protect the free and natural flow of the river and offer protection from large-scale irrigation.
I commend you on the principle to protect the alluvial groundwater aquifers in the river’s catchment, which are culturally and environmentally significant.
I urge you to ensure conservative limits on groundwater extraction that are co-designed with Traditional Owners to ensure no damage to the cultural and environmental values of the catchment.
For decades, Traditional Owners along the Martuwarra Fitzroy River have been working to protect their rights, river, and culture.
I urge you to acknowledge and recognise the vital cultural connection Traditional Owners have with the Martuwarra and ask that Traditional Owners rights are at the forefront of the Fitzroy River Water Management Plan. Protecting these rights is inseparable from protecting the National Heritage Listed cultural values of the river.
In 2021, the WA Government received 43,000 submissions from Australian supporters in response to the draft Fitzroy River Water Discussion Paper, calling for all plans for large-scale water extraction to be abandoned and for the WA Government to co-design a protection model with Traditional Owners.
I strongly urge you commit to strong, long-lasting protection for the Martuwarra Fitzroy River and a central role in protection and management for Traditional Owners.
Once again, I congratulate you for the historic step towards protection of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River.