Tell Canberra to protect the Roper River 

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Traditional owners along Australia’s mighty Roper are calling for protection of the river as they prepare to meet with ministers, MPs and Senators in Canberra! 

The Roper is one of our last free-flowing, tropical rivers but its future is under immediate threat – from cotton, fracking, land clearing, and mining. 

Northern Territory Government plans to allow huge amounts of water to be pumped from the Roper and its floodplains threaten to destroy this river and create a Murray-Darling disaster.   

This is our chance to protect one of our last free-flowing rivers.  

The river supports the livelihoods of local communities, culture, tourism, fishing, and its flows are essential to the health of endangered turtles and dugongs, as well as barramundi, prawn and crabs in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Its flows rely on groundwater that feeds the famous Mataranka and Bitter Springs. 

The Federal Government needs to act. Right now is a once in a generation chance to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the Murray Darling. 

Traditional owner groups from across the Roper region have created a 13m long songlines map of their river and its floodplains. The map covers 20,000km2 of the Roper catchment, and has travelled hundreds of kilometres across the NT, from Numbulwar on the Gulf of Carpentaria, through Ngukurr, Urupanga, Minyerri, Jilkminggan and Katherine, collecting signatures in each Roper community along the way. On November 28th, they are travelling to Canberra to meet with members of Parliament to ask for help to protect the future of their freshwater.

Stand with the Roper River and its communities by backing their statement calling for protection, and for Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to act to sustain our rivers for future generations. 

View the Roper River cultural map

Read the Roper River Statement ⌄

“All our songlines follow the water. We are all connected. If you take our water, you kill our culture. If you kill our culture, you kill our people.

We want our Indigenous water rights properly recognised, including:

  • We want a ban on all further water extraction, licenses and surface water harvesting in the Roper catchment, including the groundwater and floodplains that are the life of the River.
  • We want evidence that environmental and Indigenous cultural values are protected and made into law.
  • We want all downstream communities of the Roper to be included in all water joint-decision making from now on. We have never been consulted.
  • Our scientific and cultural knowledge of freshwater and saltwater Country came long before Colonisation and must be listened to and prioritised.”

Take action

Send your message to:
Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek MP