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Consultation begins on visionary plan for Fitzroy River

Fitzroy River
Fitzroy River Peter Nicholas/DBCA

The McGowan Labor Government today reaffirmed its commitment to the Kimberley region by commencing community consultation to deliver a visionary plan for the Fitzroy River.

The whole-of-Government approach will see the expansion of Fitzroy River National Park, and the development of a management plan of the Fitzroy catchment incorporating the water allocation plan to ensure the long-term health of the river and sustainable economic development.

Traditional owners and representatives from Aboriginal groups, pastoralists, environmental organisations, government agencies and industry gathered today (March 9) at Fitzroy Crossing for a workshop hosted by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Water Minister Dave Kelly and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt.

The Fitzroy River catchment contains significant cultural, environmental and economic values with some parts of the catchment within the Kimberley National Heritage place.

It also includes jointly managed conservation reserves; pastoral leases; and supports tourism, minerals, petroleum, conservation and services industries.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"At the outset, the McGowan Labor Government has been clear that we want to protect and grow the environmental and economic future of the Fitzroy River for the people of the Kimberley. We are also firm that the river and its tributaries won't be dammed.

"We are delivering on this election commitment and are keen to hear the community's view on the protection of the river, the expansion of the national park, its boundaries and future joint management with traditional owners."

Comments attributed to Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

"The Fitzroy River provides a beating heart for the pastoral industry in the Fitzroy Valley.

"We want to work with the industry and broader community to protect this resource for future generations."

Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:

"Water is at the heart of the environmental and economic potential of the Kimberley region.

"A Fitzroy River water allocation plan built on scientific evidence and guided by community values will be a strong basis for the future of the Kimberley.

"Sustainable management of water resources will support long-term investment in the region, and will protect the high environmental and cultural values of the river."

Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:

"Improving and providing greater opportunities for economic, social and cultural benefits for traditional owners is integral in planning for the future of the Fitzroy. We are working with traditional owner groups as part of this.

"As part of the expansion of the Fitzroy River National Park, the State Government is working with the Bunuba traditional owners to establish a joint management agreement, which will provide opportunities to create sustainable economic enterprises."