Greens and the Darling River

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    On the morning of 6 January, I woke to find a million fish floatingdead in the stagnant river water of the Lower Darling River. My heartis broken.

    My community in far-west NSW know our rivers are in dire trouble.My family can't take a shower, or let our dogs play in the poisonouswaters. I've seen thirsty kangaroos stuck in mud in the MenindeeLakes. My neighbours are lining up dead Sulphur-crested cockatoos ontheir front lawn, poisoned from drinking river water.

    But this is no natural disaster. Fish are dying because powerfulcorporate interests and their cashed up lobbyists have rigged therules, bleeding our rivers dry. For too long, state and federalgovernments have let them get away with it.

    We need strong laws and an independent body which will look out forour rivers and the communities and wildlife who depend on them.

    Signthe petition to demand a strong independent federal EnvironmentalProtection Agency to enforce the Murray Darling BasinPlan.

    Kate's father, Rob McBride and Menindee residentDick Arnold stand in the Darling river, holding Murray cod that havelived through decades of droughts and floods, but could not survivethis human-made disaster. Kate's video of their emotional plea hasgone viral, with five million views.

    Winding across five states, the Murray and Darling rivers feed intohundreds of tributaries and creeks and some 30,000 wetlands. Thesewetlands and waterways are the sacred homelands of 40 Indigenousnations. They nourish ancient river red gums and are nurseries forfish, frogs and turtles. 

    Wildlife, millions of people, and 20,000 farms – including ours –rely on Murray-Darling Basin river water. It's our lifeblood.

    We warned the NSW and federal governments this would happen ifmismanagement continued.

    It was a terrible day to wake up and find that we were right. Myonly hope is that this tragedy is the wake up call that finallychanges things so that the next generation of wildlife can thrive.

    Standwith me and call for proper independent oversight of environmentalplans.

    Thisstory is now huge on social media and now we must raise our voices todecision makers together.

    The federal government has bent over backwards to avoidresponsibility for the health of the Murray-Darling Rivers. It blockedofficials appearing at the South Australian Royal Commission andslashed the amount of water returned to these rivers.

    And the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has been missing in actionamid allegations of water theft.

    While drought is one factor in the heart-breaking death of thesefish – and climate change means we can expect more devastatingdroughts – these fish are dying because of mismanagement of water.With massive algal blooms, dry wetlands and salinity, our rivers aresick.

    After 18 months of allegations of water theft, mismanagement andundue influence of powerful corporate interests, a responsiblegovernment would step in and look after our rivers.

    Wecannot wait any longer. Will you sign the petition asking ScottMorrison and Bill Shorten to set up an independent Federal EPA toprotect our rivers?


    Kate McBride stands in front of theDarling River on Tolarno Station.

    The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is supposed to ensure our riverssurvive dry periods. A million dead fish shows the plan alone is notworking. We can seize this moment to demand a new generation of lawsfor nature, backed by institutions with the power to actually protectour rivers.

    Joinme in calling on our elected representatives to end theindustry-dominated, one-sided approach to the management of theMurray-Darling Basin.

    We all drink water. We all live upstream and downstream from eachother. We share the rivers with these fish too.

    If this is not a wake up call, what is?


    Kate McBride
    ACF River Fellow


    Australian Conservation Foundation

    Weare Australia's national environment organisation. We speak out, showup and act for a world where forests, rivers, people and wildlifethrive. We are proudly independent and funded by donations from ourcommunity.

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