Ten major environment groups from all four Basin States this afternoon emerged from a
Murray-Darling Basin Authority briefing and condemned the proposal to return only
2,800GL of water to the environment .
“On the basis of today’s briefing it’s clear the MDBA are walking away from their obligation
to produce a Basin Plan using the best available science,” said Jonathan La Nauze from
Friends of the Earth.
“The ecological outcomes of 2,800GL are frightening: the entire South Australian floodplain
has been written off and there is a very low chance that the red gums of the Goulburn,
Murray and Murrumbidgee would survive,” said Mr La Nauze.
“We completely reject the Authority’s proposed 2,800GL of environmental flows as it will
condemn the river system to continual decline and possible collapse,” said Chris Daley from
The Wilderness Society.
“It is now urgent that Minister Burke intervene and order a fully independent peer review of
the approach taken by the Authority,” said Nigel Parratt from the Queensland Conservation
“Two decades of scientific research has shown nothing less than 4,000GL will prevent the
demise of Red Gum forests, migratory bird populations and the basin’s 30,000 wetlands,”
said Bev Smiles of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The most recent comprehensive science review conducted by CSIRO showed anything less
than 4,000GL will fail the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth,” said Professor Diane
Bell from the River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group.
“It’s now clear that irrigators efforts to weaken the plan have been successful and the MDBA
have no intention of returning our ailing rivers to health,” said Juliet le Feuvre from
Environment Victoria. “Unless the Federal Government intervenes we will be wasting $10
billion and a once on a life-time opportunity to put the system on a sustainable footing which
will protect Basin communities for the long-term.”
“Non-extractive agriculture will be the forgotten loser in this plan,” said Mark Etheridge of
the Australian Floodplain Association. “Floodplain grazing and opportunity cropping are
significant contributors to the economy and they rely on natural healthy river systems to
“If the MDBA’s current approach continues it will leave future generations a legacy of
salinity, acidification and species extinction, " said Jonathan La Nauze from Friends of the
The ten leading environmental organisations said it would be impossible for them to support
the current approach of the MDBA.
Joint media release by Nature Conservation Council of NSW; Friends of the Earth; The Wilderness Society; Victorian National Parks Association; Environment Victoria; Queensland Conservation Council; Conservation Council of South Australia; River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group; Australian Floodplain Association; and Goulburn Valley Environment Group.