February 13 2019

NSWALC Drives Change for River Communities Through Historic Day of Action

The health of the Murray Darling Barwon river system has sadly reached crisis point and it is having a severe impact on our communities.

This was made abundantly clear on a recent visit to Menindee and Wilcannia by NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See and Western Region Councillor William Murray.

"Menindee and Wilcannia are two towns severely affected by this water crisis, but this is not an isolated issue. It is far-reaching and is taking a sickening and crippling toll on river communities along the Murray Darling Barwon", NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said.

"Yes, we have seen graphic images of fish population deaths in extreme numbers. But as NSWALC has continuously stressed, while sad and distressing to see, this is not about riverine life. This is about the well-being of a river system which is central to the spiritual beliefs of Australia's First Nations people and now, the chronic health ramifications people are being forced to tolerate due to no fault of their own."

"Clean water is a basic human right. Our people are being deprived of that and their health is in jeopardy. Enough is enough. It is time to fix this problem once and for all."

Cr Ah-See reiterated on behalf of NSWALC's 25,000 members, a commitment to not just listen to and witness first-hand the concerns of our people in those affected communities. Council has promised to put in place action and influence to drive results and bring about change.

A consolidated day of action will be held in six highly-affected townships on March 3. Already, we know that river communities are combining in numbers to make a stand. These will span a 2,000 kilometre stretch along the river system.

"NSWLAC stands shoulder to shoulder with our people throughout the state. Right now, our mobs along the Murray Darling Barwon need our support. Everyone's support. NSWALC is leading those efforts," Cr Ah-See said.

Community days of action will be held in Menindee, Wilcannia, Dareton, Walgett, Bourke and Dubbo. People power will send a strong and clear message. Everyone is welcome to join us for a community BBQ and to show your support.

While we acknowledge, respect and appreciate the various activities that are planned across the country to show support for these river communities, notably today at Parliament House in Canberra, NSWALC is concentrating its efforts on a consolidated day of action along the Murray, Darling and Barwon rivers on March 3. NSWALC has met with some Parliamentarians to advocate the needs of our communities and to suggest solutions. We are yet to have meetings with key opposition members including Senators Cameron, Wong and Keneally and Tony Burke MP Shadow Minister for Environment and Water. 

A request has also been made to meet with Hon. David Littleproud, the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Resources to discuss the future of our waterways.  We remain hopeful that the Minister will make himself available to discuss solutions for our waterways as a matter of urgency.

We know that together, we can and must make a difference.

Media Contact: Paul Cochrane - 0437543626