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2018 River Country Campaign Diary

The Story So Far...

River_Country.JPGRiver Country has long campaigned for river red gums along the Murray.

Our Story in 2018 is one of connecting with grassroots in Victoria and further a field, building momentum and bringing creative flare to the water debate.

poster_small.jpgRiver Country Art Exhibition

As the year draws to a close, River Country has brought the focus back to building support and awareness in Melbourne.

Opening night brought 50 people through the doors at Friends of the Earth to learn about the man made destruction of waterways and the long struggle to protect them. 

Nicole McKay and Jacquie Kelly spoke to their experience of fighting to protect the Nyah Vinifera forest (near Swan Hill).
Megan Williams and Lotus King from the River Country collective shared their stories of witnessing communities and traditional owners collide with government policy in the Nyah Vinifera and the adventure out to Broken Hill for threatened species day.

Artists featured were Elliot Chaplin, Caroline Ellis and Lotus King.

47362144_1935060236611315_2501897893930074112_n.jpgMurray Darling Basin Consultations

River Country Coordinator Megan Williams visited Swan Hill to attend the Murray Darling Basin Authority consultation sessions for water infrastructure to hear what the community has to say about water recovery.

The visit to Swan Hill included meeting with local community members, artists, farmers and traditional owners and a tour of degraded wetlands formally known to locals as the "Kakadu of the South" 



DSC_0045.JPGDrag Show and Doco

To follow up our action in Broken Hill, River Country hosted a night of Drag Shows and documentary to bring the stories back to Melbourne for National Water Week. 

We screened 'Water is Life' the Seed Documentary on Fracking in the Northern Territory and had performances by Fox Pflueger and Discophoria.

It was a night to celebrate the success of the Broken Hill Drag show and share the story of the devastation unfolding on the Darling with a new faces down in Melbourne

River Country joins Walk This Way

Friends of the Earth Melbourne's annual walk-a-thon took place along the urban coastline in 2019. Over a hundred people took up the challenge to walk 15km from Sandringham to St.Kilda to raise money in the name of climate action and support grassroots community.

The River Country team raised $1,205 with the Murray Cod playing a key role in motivating sponsors and building support. In total over $25,000 for Friends of the Earth, which goes a long way to help our grassroots keep moving



Petition to Keep water for the Rivers


As the drought in NSW deepens, calls for the sale of environmental water are building. This water was bought to by the tax payer after the Millennium Drought had a devastating impact on river ecosystems and the communities that rely on the river. As degraded red gum and wetland ecosystems can take many years to recover, selling off environmental water now would be akin to taking out a new credit card to pay off the last.

Sign the petition here






A Dead Rivers A Real Drag - Threatened Species Day 


A Golden Perch and Yabbie took to the banks of the Lower Darling to raise awareness of their threatened survival in the the Murray Darling Basin. Lake Menindee is completely dry after the NSW Government drain many years supply of water from the lake system to the detriment of the wetland ecosystem and all plants animals and communities that rely on it. Now communities along the Lower Darling are preparing for the river to run dry by December because of failed water management, corruption and water theft in the Northern Basin. 

The death of the Darling River would spell disaster for the entire basin causing fisheries to collapse and putting insurmountable pressure on the Murray River to supply water. The performance brought the story of this destruction back to the cities and uplifted local communities in their struggle to save the might Darling river. 

See Performances Here:
Fox Pflueger - When the Rivers Run Dry
Weird Alice - I Will Survive

See Press Release here

ABC Swan Hill Mildura Breakfast Radio 

Coordinator Megan Williams made a breakfast radio appearance to talk about the upcoming drag show on the Darling River



3CR - Dirt Radio Show3CR-interview.jpg

River Country took to the airwaves to explore drought, the Murray Darling Basin and the upcoming Drag Festival

Listen to the Podcast here


Community Surveying and Consultation

Throughout the year the River Country Collective has been having conversations to understand what matters most to people along the river. We are surveying people who have a long standing connection to the river an surrounding country including traditional owners, farmers and community members. Surveying and consulatation is ongoing, please get in touch with your ideas!


Community Meeting in Vinifera

The Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning met with members of Wadi Wadi, River Country and the Friends of the Nyah-Vinifera to discuss their concerns about levee banks and flow regulators that are proposed under the recent SDL adjustment package for the Murray Darling.


Read the full story here




Working With the ACF Healthy Rivers Community

River Country Coordinator Megan Williams has taken part in the ACF Healthy Rives Fellowship, building relationships and developing skills with community members across the Basin, from Tamworth to the Coorong. The River Fellows were in the Victorian Parliament for a day of talking rivers. 




Community members gather for Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra

Following the defeat of the SDL disallowance motion. Canberrans gathered on the lawns of the Hiatt to send a message to State and Federal Water Ministers that we need a Basin Plan that returns the River to Health. 




June - Tax Appeal

Our campaign at Friends of the Earth exists thanks to the community that supports us and guides out work. Our work happens of the back of many volunteer hours and one part time staff member. Our June tax appeal helps us work with communities year round.

Sign up here to make a regular donation that enables us to keep fighting for the rivers   


Story Night - The Long Struggle to Protect Our Inland Rivers

Story telling and celebrating incremental victories are the keys to maintaining long running campaigns. To bring new life into the River Country collective, we held a story and information night in front of a full house in the Friends of the Earth Coop.

Over the years we have owed our success to First Nations leadership, effective solidarlity and committed volunteers that do what it takes to win.






World Environment Day 

Social Media actions to counteract the #FairFlow campaign





Senate Disallowance Motion on the SDL adjustment

The Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL), that is, the volume of water that can sustainably be removed from the Murray Darling river systems was increased in May after the Senate Disallowance motion failed.

This means more water can be removed from the Murray Darling than was originally agreed to under the Basin Plan. Now forests, lakes and wetlands will get infrastructure packages, like levee banks and flow regulators, instead of water. 

We ran and email campaign targeting Federal Labour Senators from Victoria, asking them to protect the interests of Victorians who rely on the Murray River and briefed Labour officers on the reasons to support the disallowance.


Mallee CMA 2018 Environmental Watering Community Meeting in Tooleybuc

The community meeting, attended by 30 communities members was a first public info meeting about Sustainable Diversion adjustment projects by Mallee CMA since 2014. Wadi Wadi community members raised concerns about proposed environmental water infrastructure that the CMA oversee the development of, if the Sustainable Diversion Limits in the Murray Darling Basin Plan are adjusted by the Federal Government.

Tour of the Nyah-Vinifera with Greens Senators

Collaboration with Friends of the Nyah-Vinifera

A two day tour of Swan Hill and the Nyah Vinifera to Greens senator Janet Rice and Samantha Dunn demonstrated the long standing cultural and environmental value of the park and imminent risks facing the park if the Sustainable Diversion Limits are changed through the Murray Darling Basin Plan adjustment mechanism. A community water forum was held in Swan Hill with over 50 people in the community.


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