‘We stand by our river’: First Nations leaders, fishers, farmers and environment groups unite in Canberra to demand real water for the Murray-Darling

Nature Conservation Council

Tuesday, 14th November 2023

With the Senate set to decide the fate of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, an alliance of First Nation leaders, irrigators, farmers, ecologists and environmental organisations today travelled to federal parliament to urge politicians from across the political spectrum to deliver for inland rivers and communities.

The alliance is calling on the government to negotiate with all members of the Senate to strengthen the Restoring Our Rivers (2023) Bill to ensure real water is returned to Australia’s biggest river system.

They highlighted the triple threat facing inland communities of climate change, drought and long-term mismanagement of our inland rivers, calling for a range of amendments, in particular the guarantee of

  1. Water rights for Traditional Owners

  2. 450 GL of real water be returned to the rivers

  3. The recovery of sufficient water to ensure the flows in the northern basin (Darling/Baaka)

Key members of Parliament from across the political divide, including Nationals, Greens, Independents, and government ministers attended a BBQ and press conference held in the Senate courtyard today to hear stories from this diverse coalition.

They heard from graziers and irrigators calling for more water returned to rivers, First Nations leaders on the sacred responsibility to protect the Country, and multi-generational fishers calling for a guarantee that more water is returned to the river than is taken out.

Earlier in the day, Minister Plibersek was handed a petition with 10,000 signatures from across the Murray-Darling Basin urging her to stand up and protect the rivers they love.

/Public Release. View in full here.