Govt can’t say if Murray Darling draft plan complies with Commonwealth Water Act

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The Gillard government is unable to say if it has sought independent legal advice on whether the Murray Darling Basin Authority's draft plan complies with the Commonwealth Water Act, the Australian Greens said today.

"The government obtained legal advice for the 2010 guide to the draft plan, but today could not say if it has done so for the draft released three months ago," Greens' Murray Darling Basin spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"We are concerned by that omission, given that $9 billion of taxpayers' money is at stake.

"The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists has pointed out the plan may be in breach of the 2007 Water Act by not specifying the volume of water required for a healthy, working river system.

"There are so many factors as stake with the draft plan, including the fact while 2,750 GL has been allocated to the environment we don't know how much will be left after the increased volume of 2,600 GL groundwater allocations has been removed.

"The draft plan simply does not deliver enough water to the environment to flush out the 2 million tonnes of salt from the system each year, nor keep open the Murray Mouth.

"That's why Australians want to know if the draft plan is legal and complies with the intent and law under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007, and if it isn't, what will the government do to fix it?"