19th December 2017
Vital River Murray meeting today – full Plan delivery essential
The state’s peak environment body is calling for the full delivery of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, including the 450GL promised to SA, as the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meets today in Albury (Tuesday 19/12/17) for the first time since the ABC Four Corners expose on water theft by upstream irrigators and the announcement of a Royal Commission by the SA Government.
“The Basin Plan is at crisis point,” said Craig Wilkins, Conservation SA’s Chief Executive.
“It’s essential the Water Ministers from across the Basin recommit to delivering genuine water back to the River to ensure its long term health.
“South Australia has most to lose if the Basin Plan falls over. Equally, our state has most to lose if the Basin Plan is watered down so much it’s not worth the paper it’s written on,” he said.
A successful Basin Plan rests on four key areas of reform:
- Building community trust and improving transparency by setting up a national judicial inquiry into water theft, compliance, transparency, equity and sufficiency of rules to protect environmental water, and establishing an independent institution to conduct auditing and compliance with the Basin Plan;
- Giving the river what it needs by guaranteeing recovery of the full 3200GL, including the 450GL of upwater.
- Supporting Traditional Owner access and participation.
- Helping communities prepare for a future with less water by committing to a regional development program /transition plan to help affected communities adapt to changed water availability; and incorporating long-term changes in climate and water availability into the Basin Plan, supported by a climate change adaptation plan.
For further comment: Craig Wilkins 0417 879 439