Revelations aired in last night’s Four Corners report on the Murray-Darling have generated anger and dismay in Indigenous communities, the peak body representing Southern-Basin Traditional Owners says.
MLDRIN, which represents 25 Sovereign First Nations with links to the river systems of the Murray-Darling, is calling for a re-set of water planning arrangements in light of this damning information. MLDRIN also launched a petition, calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take action to protect our sacred river Country.
‘What we have learned tonight is that the system is broken in parts of the Murray Darling Basin,’ said MLDRIN Chairperson Mr Rene Woods.
‘Water that has been dedicated to protect our environment and paid for by Australian taxpayers, is being sucked up and turned into profits for a cabal of wealthy agribusinesses. Senior public servants appear to have colluded with irrigators to assist their campaign against the Murray Darling Basin Plan.’
River rorts leave Traditional Owners high and dry
‘Aboriginal communities have watched as their sacred rivers are degraded, impacting on community health and threatening our ability to sustain our unique culture.’
‘We have participated in water planning processes in good faith. But tonight we learned that the system is being exploited, rigged and undermined to provide exclusive benefits to big irrigators,’ Rene Woods said.
MLDRIN is calling for immediate action to address the issues raised in tonight’s report including:
- Removing the Water portfolio from the National Party in NSW. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian must immediately act to restore public faith in DPI Water
- Supporting referral of the Murray Darling Basin Plan to a senate inquiry upon resumption of Federal Parliament
- Urging a thorough investigation by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
- Ruling out the appointment of any further individuals with links to big irrigator groups to the Board of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), and ensuring that at least one Basin Traditional Owner be included on the Board.
Contact: Rene Woods, MLDRIN Chairperson (0424 299 929)