- Public comment period extended until August 31, 2021
- Extension ensures all stakeholders will have an opportunity to have their say
- Paper summarises management approaches being considered in the Fitzroy River catchment
- A final Fitzroy River water allocation plan to be released in 2022
The McGowan Government today announced the Western Australian community will have more time to comment on the future of the Fitzroy River catchment in the Kimberley, with the public comment period of the 'Managing Water in the Fitzroy River Catchment' discussion paper extended until August 31, 2021.
The discussion paper, which had been scheduled to close for comment on May 31, 2021, outlines approaches being considered by the Western Australian Government to protect the Fitzroy River and manage the use of water to support sustainable economic development in the catchment.
The McGowan Government has extended the comment period to ensure all stakeholders have an ample opportunity to comment on the paper.
The paper will help to inform a water allocation plan, which is an important part of the State Government delivering on its commitments to:
- create the Fitzroy River National Park, which will extend the Geikie Gorge National Park along the Fitzroy River to the north and along the Margaret River;
- develop a management plan for the Fitzroy River to ensure the health of the river and provide a basis for sustainable economic development; and
- not allow the Fitzroy River or its tributaries to be dammed.
Outlined in the paper are several key topics and management approaches for more focused discussion and feedback that relate to managing water and development in the Fitzroy River catchment.
No final decisions have been made in relation to any option or approach taken in this paper.
At the conclusion of the comment period, the Western Australian Government will consider all feedback received and prepare a draft Fitzroy River catchment water allocation plan, which will be released for public comment before a final water allocation plan is published in 2022.
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"Given the significance of the plan it is important to ensure people have time to consider and share their views on the matter of water allocation and use in the Fitzroy.
"The impacts of COVID-19 and the wet season have complicated the consultation process.
"Because of this, the paper will remain open for comment until the end of August 2021.
"Ensuring the sustainably managed and developed water resources of the Fitzroy River catchment, which involves government, traditional owners and other stakeholders, is a priority of the McGowan Government.
"The McGowan Government has committed to no dams on the river or its tributaries."
Comments attributed to Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The Fitzroy River has unique environmental and cultural values which are community assets that require us to plan carefully in developing and driving new and diversified economic opportunities for residents and communities.
"We believe in the need to both protect the river and its values, and support pathways for people to pursue economic development opportunities.
"Extending consultation will ensure every community member and stakeholder can have their voice heard, and that the future of the Fitzroy will deliver benefits for the whole community."
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"Creating the Fitzroy River National Park is an important part of the McGowan Government's Plan for Our Parks which will secure a further five million hectares of national parks, marine parks and reserves across Western Australia over the next five years.
"Ensuring meaningful consultation with stakeholders is a critical part of the process."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The Fitzroy River and its surrounds are a uniquely special place for traditional owners who have played, and always will play, an integral role in the protection and management of this significant natural asset.
"The McGowan Government is committed to working with traditional owners to foster enhanced consultation and strong joint management partnerships for the benefit of the culture, jobs, training, regional economies, the environment and society at large.
"I would encourage anyone with an interest in this special part of WA to utilise this extended public consultation period and have your say."
Water Minister's office - 6552 6100
Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 6200
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5900
Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5800