- Be informed
- Get involved
- Donate now
- News & media
The government, the Greens, Tony Windsor, and the opposition need to agree on a Basin Plan which is based on science, returns more than 2750 GL litres of water, and provides outcomes for the wetlands and floodplains in the Basin.
The revised draft of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been sent to the state ministers. But, apart from the reduction in ground-water extraction limits from the absurdly high 4340GL to 3184GL, and an additional salinity target for Lower Lakes, measured at Milang, this version merely pays lip-service to revision.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority received close to 12,000 submissions during the twenty weeks consultation period which ended on April 16. More than 7,000 of these submissions called for more water to be returned to our rivers. But the revised draft has not improved on the 2750 GL figure in the draft Basin Plan.
Some say that a wet period is one of the hardest times for water reform. It is harder to agree that our rivers need more water when there are floods and rains all along the Murray-Darling Basin, than when the rivers are parched during times of drought. Yet here we are on the brink of the final Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The clock is ticking now that the revised draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan has well and truly entered the federal political arena
The process for one national plan for the Basin started way back in 2007 when the Howard Government passed the Water Act 2007 through federal parliament.
After two round of consultation with the state ministers, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will be sent to federal environment minister Tony Burke, who will table it in parliament later this year.
While minister Burke talks to the states and gets their agreement, making some of much needed improvements to the Basin Plan, the position of all parties on the issue become critically important.
What we lack at this stage is modelling of higher volumes including 4000 GL; without this scientific information it will be very hard for everyone, and especially minister Burke to know what he is trading off in the final plan.
The federal opposition who have strong interests across the upstream states as well as in South Australia; but at this critical stage, they need to show leadership on the issue and support a unified good position on the Basin Plan which returns more than 2750 billion litres to the Murray-Darling.
ACF will be turning the spotlight on key federal leaders for the next few months before this plan enters parliament.