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MyClean- River
Why the concern? Perth is a prosperous city with endless clean beaches and is famous for its wildflowers and its Mediterranean climate. This capital of the state is located on the Swan River which was in 2004 declared the “first heritage icon” and the Premier, as head of government, described it as  stunning”. This descriptions seems reasonable as in summer, the surface of the river is bedecked with sailboats, water skiers, ski jets, and the like and that superficial beauty is reflected in the glossy publications from government agencies. Below the surface it is very different and looking back over a few decades, the river has precipitously declined with experts tipping its death by 2020. Why is this happening? An agency dedicated to the Swan River, the Swan River Trust, was in 2015 absorbed by a broader govenment agency after having two of its annual reports suppressed by the responsible Minister of government and even criticised by the Auditor General for not performing. Prior to that, a recommendation to actually deal with the problem, the Fertiliser Action Plan was in 2008 watered down after a change of government to be largely ineffective idea to defer actually dealing with the problem, at least in the current political cycle. The river is declining........ Four oxygen tanks keep the upper sections of the Swan River alive while the river is unhealthy, deemed in decline, and periodically closed. Millions of dollars have been spent on reports and on attempts to suppress the symptoms of pollution. The government’s own pollution target has not been achieved, and even shown impossible to achieve without major change to river system regulations. In 2014, the state’s Auditor General released a dedicated report on the river that was scathing of it’s management. Ignored, river closures have become more frequent.  Deemed a Heritage Icon in 2004 and strongly associated with the image of modern progressive Perth , the river in contrast is deemed to be in decline. While Australia has signed the United Nation’s Agenda 21 which accords a role for indigenous people in the management of biodiversity that is reflected in Commonwealth legislation, WA’s Biodiversity Diversity Conservation Act 2016, excludes their participation. The Whadjuk Noongar Aboriginal People are it custodians and the UN agreement must be respected. A report and supporting media are made available to help The West Australian stimulate the status that the people of WA sought in a Curtin University report. That report was withdrawn from public scrutiny by the WA government, and is summarised in our report. It shows the extraordinary value the river is for West Australians. An authority is called for that straddles the land and the water and one that calls for accountability for landholders along the river as the principal source of river pollution. This is being expressed in New Zealand. There is an opportunity for halting the decline and for reducing the costs borne by the taxpayers.