Healthy Rivers

Tell Labor Senators: we need a strong plan for rivers!


In just weeks, the Australian Senate will make a historic vote on the future of our biggest river system. It could be a lifeline for the Murray-Darling ahead of the next drought – but only if the government fixes key flaws in the legislation. 


We’ve built huge momentum these last few months, even travelling to Canberra with people from across the Basin to make sure politicians hear our voices! 


But we know the irrigation lobby is ramping up as well. In these crucial final weeks before the Senate votes, we need to keep the pressure on the Labor government and call on them to step up. 


Will you send a message to Labor Senators, calling on them to strengthen the federal government’s Murray-Darling bill so it guarantees enough water for healthy, flowing rivers and communities? >> 


We’re calling for: 

  • Water rights for Traditional Owners 
  • Guarantees that water will be returned to rivers on time 
  • Support for the neglected Darling-Baaka and its tributaries 

Dear government Senators and Minister Plibersek, 


The Murray-Darling is Australia’s biggest and most important river system and restoring it to health is critical. 


I am writing to you as one of thousands of people who want Labor to live up to its election promise to return water to the river urgently. We include farmers, graziers, fishers, Traditional Owners and conservationists from across the Basin who support voluntary water buybacks. You can read more of our stories at 


At the last election, Labor promised to restore the river system to health, including delivering the 450 GL of water for the environment and “increasing First Nations ownership of water entitlements and participation in decision making”. 


After ten years of mismanagement and stalled progress under the Liberal-National coalition, the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023 currently before the Senate provides much needed progress. 


But as our rivers continue to suffer from over-extraction and a hotter, drier climate, the Bill needs to go further to meet Labor’s election commitments. We’re calling on government Senators to strengthen the bill with: 


  • Legally binding guarantees to deliver the 450 GL of water for the environment 
  • Additional water for the Darling-Baaka to prevent catastrophic fish kills 
  • Recognising and delivering First Nations water rights, including by implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 

As Minister Plibersek mentioned in her speech introducing this Bill to Parliament: “We don’t want to wake up one day to a dead river system and realise that we could have done something to stop it.” 


Now is the time to seize this opportunity and provide a lifeline to rivers and water justice to First Nations, delivering on Labor’s election promises. 






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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, [email protected], or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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