Consultation on the McGowan Government's Fitzroy River commitments will be paused as the State Government, Aboriginal community and other stakeholders give full attention to the COVID-19 response.
Face-to-face consultation with traditional owners and key stakeholders was due to restart in coming weeks, however it will now not be possible given travel restrictions in the Kimberley to protect vulnerable Aboriginal communities.
Consultation will be rescheduled later in 2020, subject to developments in the public health response to COVID-19 and when Aboriginal communities and stakeholders are comfortable to proceed.
As discussions on the creation of the Fitzroy River National Park are suitably advanced, a pause in community consultation is not expected to affect the establishment of the new park boundaries.
The Fitzroy River election commitments have been subject to an extensive ongoing dialogue with traditional owners and key stakeholders, including two meetings in Fitzroy Crossing with presentations from the four responsible Ministers.
For more information on travel restrictions within the Kimberley region, visit https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-travel-restrictions-within-the-kimberley-region
Comments attributed to Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"We remain committed to delivering sustainable economic development in the Fitzroy while protecting the environmental and cultural values of the river, but in light of the risk to the Kimberley from COVID-19, it simply isn't possible to continue consultation on these issues at this stage.
"We look forward to picking up this work once the public health advice allows us to do so."
Comment attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The McGowan Government has undertaken significant consultation on our commitment to create a Fitzroy River National Park, and we look forward to finalising park boundaries in coming months."
Comment attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"We remain committed to our policy of no dams on the Fitzroy River or its tributaries, and will resume consultation on a water allocation plan later this year."
Comment attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"Our top priority is to protect Aboriginal communities from the risk of COVID-19. Pausing consultation on our Fitzroy River commitments is the only sensible decision, and will ensure we can continue to engage traditional owners in the Valley once the crisis has passed."
Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 6200
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800
Water Minister's office - 6552 6100
Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900