The Australian Greens are calling for more urgent work to be done on the Basin Plan as the Prime Minister, Environment Minister and SA Premier celebrate a Basin Plan which still starts at 2750GL and won’t keep the Basin healthy.
“We shouldn’t be setting a limit on what we can do to save the river when it will guarantee environmental failure,” said Greens’ Water and Murray Darling Basin spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
“Far from returning the river to health, the Plan that was announced today may treat some of the symptoms but falls well short of delivering a long term remedy.
“While it’s good to see the Government finally conceding that more water is needed for the river, today is not the huge win for SA that Labor says it is.
“When the Basin Plan comes before Federal Parliament in coming weeks, the Australian Greens will continue to champion the environment and SA by negotiating to ensure that 3200Gl is not the ceiling.
“Today’s Plan starts at 2750GL and sets 3200GL as the absolute maximum that will be returned to the river, and it will take until 2024 to achieve that.
“Labor’s triumphalism comes on the same day that the Wentworth Group warns that even 3200GL won’t export the 2 million tonnes of salt from the Mouth each year or meet 17 of the 20 environmental targets established by the SA Government.
“It’s also a significant concern that the extra $1.7 billion will all be spent on improving irrigation infrastructure which is 4 times more expensive, and far less reliable, than water buy backs.
“The Wentworth Group also highlighted the elephant that’s always been in the room, the massive increase to groundwater extractions that may leave us with far less water than ever expected.
“We all know what it is like to live in drought, so I call on the community to keep up with the pressure on the Federal government to bring forward a better Plan that will really deliver health and resilience to our Basin communities.
Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760