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Film Completed   /  Stephanie King

Voices of the River

Australia is at a crossroads: will we destroy one of our last in-tact river systems?

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Impact areas

ENVIRONMENT

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

INDIGENOUS

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Stephanie King

  • PRODUCER Stephanie King

Synopsis

DURATION: 2 MINUTES

“When you start looking at the Murray-Darling river system and how that’s been affected by huge development and the fight for water, the river became sick, and from sickness you get dying fish, and from dying fish you get a bad water system… The Fitzroy River is a living system. It has the right to life… It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it, so together we’re gonna protect each other.” – Anthony McLarty, Walmajarri Traditional Owner

The National Heritage-Listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River stretches over 700km from the desert to the sea, and is a site of great cultural significance. However, the river’s cultural and ecological values are now under great threat from Murray-Darling style proposals to pump water from the river and establish an intensive irrigated agriculture industry. Web-series VOICES OF THE RIVER goes out on Country with ten Traditional Owners to share stories of cultural connection and the fight to protect one of the last in-tact river systems in the world.

Support this project

18.50% funded
  • $10,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $1,850.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • June 2021

    PROJECT ENDS
  • 5

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Donations

Anonymous $50.00
Ian King $150.00
Sara Rosenman $150.00
Anonymous $1,000.00
michelle Standish $500.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The National Heritage Listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River stretches over 700km from the desert to the sea, and is a site of great cultural significance. However, the river’s cultural and ecological values are now under great threat from Murray-Darling style proposals to pump water from the river and establish an intensive irrigation industry. Traditional Owners have repeatedly made clear their support for long-term protection of the Martuwarra, through the 2011 National Heritage Listing, the 2016 Fitzroy River declaration, the 2018 establishment of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council, and their 2020 statement in the West Australian. Working closely with Traditional Owners and environmental alliance Kimberley – Like Nowhere Else, this series seeks to communicate the cultural values of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River to a broader audience, and to support the advocacy goals of the river’s original custodians.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our goal is to convey the cultural and environmental values of the Fitzroy River to support its protection from large-scale development, and to centre Traditional Owners’ voices in all decision-making:
1. Cultural value: support Traditional Owners to protect the river to maintain culture and promote alternative, sustainable cultural industries.
2. Environmental values: protect the pristine Fitzroy River and its ecosystems, lifeblood of the Kimberley and one of last in-tact rivers.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short term outcomes:
• Increased visibility of Traditional Owners’ opinions in the debate around the Fitzroy River (media coverage, distribution figures, views, shares, reach);
• Improved public awareness of these cultural and environmental issues (media coverage, surveys);
• Increased support for conservation of the Fitzroy River (surveys, petitions, partnerships);
• No water allocation plan announced by the WA Government before the March 2021 election.

Long-term outcomes:
• No decisions made without Indigenous stakeholder consent;
• No surface water taken from the Fitzroy River, floodplains, tributaries or alluvial aquifers;
• Legal protection of the Fitzroy River in the form of a buffer zone, National Park or other protective tenure for the lower Fitzroy catchment.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Voices of the River will achieve these outcomes by leveraging strategic partnerships to encourage audience action through a multi-platform online campaign. This will be used to make targeted approaches to key decision-makers in WA government. Activities include:
• Partnership with Kimberley – Like Nowhere Else on their campaign to protect the Fitzroy River;
• Partnership with Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council on their campaign to protect the Fitzroy River;
• Multi-platform release through KLNE and EK’s Facebook page and EDMs, with support from alliance partner organisations;
• Series and petition tabled with Members of Parliament.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

The filmmakers are working closely with the following partners, who are the leaders in these areas: Kimberley – Like Nowhere Else alliance (Pew Charitable Trusts, Environs Kimberley, WWF Australia, The Wilderness Society, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Conservation Council of WA, Whale and Dophin Conservation), Traditional Owners and the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Sign KLNE petition / make submission to government;
2. Share video on socials;
3. Sign up to Kimberley - Like Nowhere Else to stay informed.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

• Visibility will be measured through media coverage, distribution, views/reach, shares;
• Public awareness will be measured through media coverage, views/reach, petitions, comments/surveys;
• Support for conservation will be measured through petitions, shares, comments/surveys, partnerships;
• Government action will be measured by public commitments made.