Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations on the Macquarie re-regulating dam

The Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) is a confederation of Sovereign First Nations from the Southern part of the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). The group currently includes Delegates from 24 Nations across Victoria, NSW, the ACT and South Australia.

MLDRIN understands that the construction and operation of the proposed Macquarie re-regulating structure will have significant detrimental impact on matters of national environmental significance, including a Ramsar wetland and Federally listed threatened species. The proposal will also have detrimental impact on places and species of profound cultural significance to Traditional Owners of the Wiradjuri and Wailwan Nations. We also wish to highlight that engagement and consultation with relevant First Nations has been grossly inadequate…..

… We wish to stress that the waterways and landscapes likely to be impacted by the Re-regulator project are of profound cultural significance to multiple First Nations groups. The referral documents indicate that consultation with these Nations has grossly inadequate and that erroneous understandings of First Nations people have underpinned engagement and project design.

MLDRIN is a peak representative body, advising the MDBA, as well as NSW agencies (including sections of the Department of Primary Industries and Environment) regarding appropriate consultation with First Nations on waterway management issues. MLDRIN has a formal statutory role under he Basin Plan to assess water resource plans prepared by State Governments. MLDRIN has received no formal notification or been engaged by the proponent on this project.

MLDRIN’s Wiradjuri Nation delegates have identified the Macquarie Marshes and Murray Cod as critical cultural assets. Existing issues with poor water quality, water extraction, regulation and pollution have already degraded these sacred values. The re-regulator project is likely to greatly exacerbate these impacts…..

…. MLDRN is also deeply concerned by statements indicating the likelihood of inundation of cultural heritage features around the Rocky Point area. The referral also indicates that ‘The nature of the recorded sites suggests that similar sites are likely to exist at other locations along the river and across the landscape.’ It is grossly inadequate to suggest that cultural heritage sites subject to induction and destruction can be substituted for other sites along the waterway. All cultural sites bear a unique testimony to cultural traditions and occupation of country and cannot be substituted.

MLDRIN is also deeply concerned that the 30km weir pool that would result from construction of the re-regulating structure will lead to inundation and drowning of ancient River Red Gums and other physical and biotic features of cultural significance In summary, MLDRIN is deeply concerned that this project will pose significant, new threats to a river system and associated features of National Environmental significance that are already critically stressed. The related cultural values are also likely to be significantly impacted, with poor First Nations consultation evident in the project design.

Download MLDRIN’s full submission here:

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