Western Rivers Alliance Election Letter to the Premier September 2020

Ahead of the 2020 State Election, Western Rivers Alliance supporters have written to political parties to commit to better legislative protection for Channel Country rivers and floodplains within the first 12 months of a new term of government.

See below to read our letter to the Premier.



Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier of Queensland
PO Box 15185

Dear Premier, 

The Western Rivers Alliance urges your Government to commit to strengthening legislation to ensure better protection for the Channel Country rivers and floodplains within 12 months of a new term of government.

The Western Rivers Alliance is an informal alliance between individual graziers, traditional owners, conservation organisations and scientists advocating for the protection of rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country.  

The Channel Country's rivers are among the last free flowing desert rivers on Earth. This vast natural area is the site of one of the planet’s most spectacular natural phenomena. For years at a time, these rivers may not flow, reducing them to a series of pools. But, when the rains return, the water winds through hundreds of iconic braided channels, spilling out and submerging millions of hectares of floodplains. These events attract waterbirds from thousands of kilometres away to breed on wetlands brimming with plant and insect life. The Channel Country rivers, waterholes, and wetlands are rich with sacred cultural heritage for the region’s traditional owners. The floodplains are recognised as some of the best cattle-fattening country in the world supporting a profitable organic beef industry. This extraordinary natural river system, and the unique historical and cultural values it supports, attracts visitors from across the world supporting a growing tourism industry. 

We are concerned about threats to the health of the rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country, from the impacts of industrial scale unconventional gas activities (fracking) and from other mining and large-scale irrigation interests. This concern was exacerbated when the Newman Government repealed the Wild Rivers Act.

In the lead up to the 2015 election, Queensland Labor committed to protect the pristine rivers of the Channel Country, in consultation with traditional owners and other stakeholders. The party repeated this commitment prior to the 2017 state election. As we reach the conclusion of the second term with this commitment still undelivered, it is vital that the Palaszczuk Government commits to legislating better protection for people and nature in the Channel Country as a matter of priority.

We acknowledge that an initial phase of targeted consultation on this issue was conducted and that further consultation was put on hold due to the COVID19 health crisis. We urge your government to recommence the consultation process without delay alongside a clear mandate, in the form of an election commitment, for stronger legislative protections within the first 12 months of a newly elected Labor Government.

Please contact Riley Rocco on [email protected] to inform us of your Government’s plans to deliver on your election commitment to progress the protection of the rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country.


Yours Sincerely,

Angus Emmott

Cattle grazier representative

George Gorringe

Channel Country
Traditional Owner representative

Riley Rocco

Western Rivers Alliance 

Sophia Walter

Queensland Manager
Pew Charitable Trusts