I am a constituent in your electorate and I care about the future of the Fitzroy River.
Recently, 43,000 people made submissions on the WA Government’s Fitzroy River Water Discussion Paper, calling for the entire length of the Fitzroy River to be protected and for no surface water to be taken from the river or its tributaries.
I strongly support the government’s commitment not to dam the river and to create a Fitzroy River National Park, but I am deeply concerned about proposals for large dams on the floodplains and the extraction of huge volumes of water from the river and floodplains.
The National Heritage-listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River is of outstanding cultural and environmental value. It is one of Western Australia’s greatest listed Aboriginal Heritage sites. The living waters of the river support culture and the livelihoods of thousands of people, as well as tourism, fishing, and rare wildlife such as the critically endangered freshwater sawfish.
During consultations, Traditional Owners expressed strong concerns that they had not consented to plans to take water for irrigation, and that to do so could lead to irreversible damage to cultural heritage and the environment.
Traditional Owners have urged government not to repeat past mistakes, but ensure their voices are heard, so that the Martuwarra Fitzroy River is properly protected and does not become the next Juukan Gorge.
The choice is between massive volumes of water being taken out of the river with tens of thousands of hectares of land clearing and massive pesticide, herbicide and artificial fertilizer use so that multi-millionaire farmers can make more money, versus a healthy river that sustains thousands of people in the Fitzroy Valley.
Large-scale irrigation developments would put the Fitzroy River on a Murray–Darling trajectory, with reduced water flows and increased pollution, causing widespread ecological damage and loss of priceless cultural heritage.
I strongly urge you to work with Traditional Owners and the local community to grow and develop existing and potential sustainable industries that benefit the economy, local communities and the environment.
I am urging you, as my local Member of Parliament, to protect the Martuwarra Fitzroy River and reject plans for a new irrigated agriculture industry on the Fitzroy River or its floodplains. Can you tell me what you will do to protect the Fitzroy River?