Restore our sacred Murray-Darling rivers: return the waters
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For the First Nations of the Murray Darling Basin, rivers are the living lifeblood of Country. Our great rivers once nourished a vast complex of interconnected wetlands, forests, lakes and cultural landscapes. Next week, before the 8th May 2018, the Australian Senate will vote on a plan to cut the volume of water that must be restored to our rivers by 605 billion litres.
First Nations have watched as the sacred waterways of the Murray-Darling basin have been dammed and degraded by over-extraction, pollution and corruption. We've all seen the rorts and cover-ups exposed on the Four Corners program last year. Now governments want to take more precious water away from our rivers.
If its successful, this plan means more steel and concrete structures, designed to 'replicate' natural floods with less water. It means cutting the amount of water for the environment by more than the total volume of Sydney Harbour. It means the cultural values of Traditional Owners along the Murray, Darling, Goulburn and Murrumbidgee rivers (just to mention a few) will be at greater risk.
We can't risk letting more water be taken from our rivers. We need key decision makers, Federal Water Minister David Littleproud and Labor Water Spokesperson Tony Burke, to commit to restoring our sacred rivers.
Minister Littleproud and Tony Burke can work with all stakeholders to fix the mess and restore the rivers to health. All Basin governments must
- Secure enough water so that the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers can flow across their floodplains and all the way out to the sea
- Guarantee the delivery of the additional 450 GL of water for our rivers, wetlands and floodplains that was promised as a part of the Basin Plan negotiations
- Ensure any projects that justify taking more water from the river will not impact cultural values, unequivocally benefit communities and wildlife and meet the requirements of the Basin Plan
- Remove physical barriers and rules that stop water getting to wetlands
- Restore water rights to First Nations, to support our cultural, economic, environmental and social wellbeing.
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