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After receiving thousands of public submissions calling for a stronger Basin Plan to return the nation’s lifeblood to health, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) continues to fail the river with the revised plan it has released today.
"It’s in our shared interest to protect the Murray-Darling, our nation’s lifeblood, so it’s not surprising so many people have told the authority the Basin Plan needs to do more to ensure the river’s health,” ACF CEO Don Henry said.
"The revised plan released today doesn’t provide enough water to keep the river system from being poisoned by salt, to keep it flowing and alive."
An independent CSIRO study found the volume of water provided in the current plan would only meet 21 per cent of the environment and water targets needed to return the river to health with certainty
"We cannot accept a plan that does not meet three quarters of the environment and water targets and neither should federal environment minister Tony Burke," Mr Henry said.
"We call on Mr Burke to use the power he has under the Water Act to send the Basin Plan back to the authority, requesting the body models the environmental, social and economic benefits of returning higher volumes of water, including 4000 gigalitres, to the river.
"It’s time for our federal leaders to stand up and take responsibility for a strong Basin Plan.
"We are yet to hear from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on whether he supports improving a plan that doesn’t meet the majority of river health targets."
As well as failing to provide enough surface water to meet most of the targets set for a healthy river, the revised Basin Plan does not consider impacts of climate change on future water availability. However, the revised plan does take a step in the right direction by reducing groundwater extraction.