Overview

ACF’s Murray-Darling Rivers Fellowship gives participants practical skills so they can campaign locally for healthier rivers.

ACF skills up and supports the Fellows to run local campaigns, community petitions and events, lobby decision makers and mobilise people in their community to come to Canberra and meet with their elected representatives.

The Fellowship’s training and coaching is delivered by experts in their fields as well as the participants who are sharing their own valuable knowledge and experiences from their communities.

The nine-month Fellowship training includes:

  • Three intensive weekend retreats
  • Webinars, one-on-one coaching sessions and weekly campaign catch-ups
  • Ongoing support and a small budget to run local campaign activities and community events
  • A convergence at the Canberra Water Week Summit and fellowship graduation.

Gathering momentum

Four months into the 2017 program, we are already seeing our Fellows emerging as leaders in their communities and leveraging key moments in the campaign to galvanise local support. The recent Four Corners report alleging water theft by rogue irrigators in NSW makes our work with the Fellows that much more critical to the health of our rivers.

Because of the networks built up and skills shared over the last four months, the Fellows were well prepared to harness the momentum generated by this national media storm. As well as speaking out in national media and offering crucial local representation of their experiences, they are leveraging significant community support in their local areas.

Here's how the 2017 River Fellows are getting on with it:

  • The Fellows met with elected representatives at South Australia’s state parliament.
  • Fellows launched a federated petition on change.org asking the Prime Minister to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and provided support for 11 additional community petitions created by the Fellows. The combined petitions have over 12,000 signatures and counting.
  • Fellows co-facilitated regional trainings in two towns during July to introduce themselves as leaders and trainers, establish local teams and get those teams working on localised strategies to further mobilise people in their communities who care.
  • Fellows participated in local and national media, with over two dozen interviews and stories through radio, TV and online channels following the alarming Four Corners report and allegations that several rogue irrigators in NSW are stealing billions of litres of water from the Murray-Darling Basin (examples: Tracy and Glen Hill in the Murray Valley Standard; Kate McBride in Broken Hill’s Barrier Daily Truth; and the Four Corners program itself featured one of our Fellows).

 

 

"Before I started this program I lacked confidence to speak up. Now I feel brave." 

Tuesday Browell, 2017 River Fellow

Fellows and their local teams are now busy planning the Healthy Rivers Roadshow - a series of 15 town hall events across the Basin to bring together communities of people who care about river health. The events aim to mobilise even more people who care about river health and recruit people to come to the National Water Week Summit in October.

At the Summit, communities from across the Basin will deliver their community petitions and lobby Senators to fix Australia's water policy and protect our rivers.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to get skilled up to speak out for our rivers, you can read more about the 2018 Rivers Fellowship here.

If you don’t think campaigning is for you, but you’d like to offer your support to our 2018 Fellows as a coach, trainer, expert guest speaker, event organiser, water policy or science consultant, please get in touch!

If you’ve got a great local success story that showcases the amazing results a bit of environmental watering can achieve, and you’d like to invite us out to interview you or bring along the 2018 Fellows for a BBQ, drop us a line! We’d love to come and see your patch of the river and have a yarn.

The Lifeblood Alliance

ACF is leading the Fellowship in order to strengthen the capacity of local communities to advocate for basin-wide river health and to bring about real, positive change in policy, attitude and discourse. But ACF isn’t doing this alone.

In order to achieve massive positive change for the basin, and to hold on to policy wins in the long term, it’s crucial that we build a strong and interconnected movement that is capable of consistently advocating for good policy, strong leadership, and equitable governance. The Rivers Fellowship is led in partnership with the The Lifeblood Alliance, and part of the work we do builds up capacity in the wider movement of passionate individuals and groups who stand up for healthy rivers.

The Lifeblood Alliance consists of environmental, Indigenous and community groups committed to keeping the rivers, wetlands and aquifers of the Murray-Darling Basin healthy for the benefit of current and future generations. The Alliance includes the Australian Conservation Foundation, NSW Nature Conservation Council, Conservation Council of South Australia, NSW National Parks Association, Environmental Farmers Network, Inland Rivers Network, Australian Floodplain Association, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and Environment Victoria.

 

 

 

Header photo: creative commons licensed (BY 2.0) flickr photo by Chris Fithall

To change the story about the Murray-Darling Basin and fix the system, we must build connected and active community power.

So let's get on with it!



If you have any questions, just send an email to ACF community organiser Bethany Koch.

Bethany.Koch@acf.org.au