Save the Martuwarra/Fitzroy River!

Written by: Nick G. on 12 April 2021

 

Rob McBride is a grazier and owner of Tolarno Station on the Barka/Darling River.

He and his daughter Kate have been relentless campaigners against the giant corporate irrigators whose water extraction – legal and illegal - has destroyed the Barka.

His response to proposals to turn corporate irrigators loose on Western Australia’s Martuwarra/Fitzroy River is unambiguous. 

Writing on the Tolarno Station Facebook page, he says: 
 
Please continue to fight for all the rivers throughout all Australia. The criminals killing our rivers are like cancer, they try and spread out and kill the whole rivers systems throughout our great land. Those who killed our darling barka are moving north and they must be stopped. These people do not care about the future of our rivers and lakes and their greed is their only god. Please sign petitions and support those fighting for the Fitzroy, as without all our help this river too will be dead in 10 years , like what had happened too the Darling barka.
 
It is not too late to stop the Martuwarra becoming another Barka, with reduced to zero water flow, pollution from chemical pesticide run-off, and destruction of native fish stock and wildlife.
 
Standing firmly in the way of the big corporates, including Gina Reinhart, are the First Peoples. The Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council has some excellent publications and research papers as well as a petition to the WA Government.  A documentary has also been made and a trailer version is available here.
 
And First Peoples are holding hands across the continent against capitalism’s destructive impact on the environment.  Badger Bates is an elder of the Barkindji People and made a video message to the people of the Martuwarra saying that the Barkindji stand ready to help.
 
So, what is happening now?
 
The WA Government has released a discussion paper on the management of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River that fails to acknowledge the concerns of environmentalists and First Peoples. Respected elder and Nyikina woman Dr Anne Poelina (pictured above) comments on it in this short video.
 
The discussion paper fails in critical areas:
 
Large dams are proposed to capture surface flows from the river and floodplains via overland flow, pumps and channels.
The impacts of pollution from agricultural development are not considered.
The Fitzroy River is Western Australia’s longest listed Aboriginal Heritage site. This is not mentioned in the paper; nor is protection of this heritage considered.
The extreme risk to critically endangered freshwater sawfish from water extraction and pollution from agriculture is not reflected in the discussion paper.
 
The discussion paper attempts to constrain and restrict people’s input to the decision-making that the WA government will undertake. 
 
The decisions will either support Gina Reinhart and a handful of monopolies that seek to exploit nature just as they exploit people, or it will support the wider community and the environment.
 
Petitions will play their part, but actions will speak louder than words.
 
Dare to struggle and win for the people and the environment.

 

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