The Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council (MFRC) has received a $40,000 grant they say will aid them in their opposition to hydraulic fracking on the Fitzroy River.

Fitzroy Rivery by Yaruman5
Fitzroy River. Image by Yaruman5.

The grant was awarded by Groundswell, described as “a new Giving Circle created in response to the Climate Crisis”, who raises its funding from donations.

MFRC member and proud Nyikina and Wangkumara woman Marlikka Perdrisat said the council represents six different indigenous nations of the Fitzroy River Catchment area.

“We have negotiated a vision for the river that accommodates the concerns of every traditional owner group along the River,” she said.

“The WA government has already banned fracking in 98% of the state, so they are admitting it is unsuitable for everyone else, but they think it’s okay to poison First Nations people in the Fitzroy Valley.”

Ms Perdrisat also said: “Bennett Resources and Buru Energy have already applied to drill 20 fracking wells along the river.”

“The EPA only allowed 7 days for public reply. Earlier this year Bennet Resources was approved a water license for over 100,000 kilolitres which we can only assume will be used to support their fracking.”

The office of the Minister for Environment Amber-Jade Sanderson told Vanguard “the McGowan Government has already taken steps to address climate impacts…. [this] includes actions to drive our transition to net zero emissions by 2050.”

However, a report released by the Australian Academy of Science in March points out that these commitments are not enough to reduce global warming by three degrees and lays out a catastrophic scenario of coastal flooding, increased bushfires and temperatures across the country if the current emissions plan is continued.

The same report states “any expansion of the gas industry is incompatible with achieving the Paris Agreement targets” and notes that First Nation Peoples will be disproportionately affected by a rapidly changing climate.

The Independent Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracking conducted by the WA Government states that consent of “relevant Traditional Owners” is required before fracking is permitted, yet the MFRC points out that the entire river is considered communal property to many language groups and that any damage to one part of the river will affect the rest of the system.

”Martuwarra, its tributaries, the aquifer and the entire bioregion was created by Yoongoorrookoo, the powerful and sacred Rainbow Serpent,” Ms Perdrisat said.

“Yoongoorrookoo is the giver of rain and life. He travels high up in the sky, down through the rivers, the air, the sea, is cradled within the earth’s aquifers and held in us.

“Every human being and non-human being is a descendant of, interconnected with, and dependent on water.”

The Inquiry states that fracking is banned in 98% of the state, however the government’s own map shows only three basins that are “potential shale gas locations” with the Canning Basin containing a “potential resource base greater than all the other Australian basins combined” according to the Denver International Petroleum Society.

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