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The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the Federal, Queensland and NSW governments to work together to purchase the massive water-hoarding cotton farm Cubbie Station and return the water to rivers and wetlands.
Cubbie Station was one of six properties identified by ACF one year ago as properties with big water storages in the Darling Basin that could be purchased by Federal or state governments to help revive the struggling Murray-Darling system.
“The Federal, NSW and Queensland governments should buy Cubbie Station to recover water now to help save the Murray-Darling,” said ACF healthy rivers campaigner Dr Arlene Buchan.
“Cubbie is capable of holding a Sydney Harbour worth of water,” Dr Buchan said.
“If Cubbie’s water entitlements were returned to rivers it would benefit several nationally and internationally significant bird breeding areas, including the Narran lakes, the lower Culgoa floodplain and the Darling River.
“Bird species that would benefit include the iconic Red-tailed black cockatoo and the Straw-necked ibis – so important for managing insect numbers on farms.
“Climate change is hitting the Murray River really hard, so extra water in the Darling – a key tributary to the Murray – is vitally important to the long-term health of the whole Basin.
“Governments negotiating this deal need to be careful that water returned to the rivers is not diverted into dams and channels downstream.
“Buying Cubbie Station and returning the water to the environment would give many stressed wetlands a great boost,” she said.