04 July, 2012

Murray Darling Basin Plan-Neil Eagle

My friend Neil Eagle, who knows the Murray like the back of his hand, tells it like it is:-


MDBA Ignores Public Submissions - Still No Basin Plan Balance!     
Predictably Rhonda Dickson CEO of MDBA has announced they have seen nothing in the multitude of submissions to sway them from their intention of recommending in the Final Plan for the recovery of a further 2750 GLs of water for the environment.

This statement confirms my continued contention that the whole consultation process was a total sham! 

To totally ignore the recommendations in both the House of Representatives (Windsor) Inquiry and the Senate (Joyce) Inquiry, the submissions from the upper states of NSW and Victoria and then dismiss out of hand 12,000 submissions elicited from the Basin communities at the series of Community ‘consultation’ meetings is an insult to those who prepared submissions.

The bureaucrats and politicians involved stand condemned as actively working against the future interests of our Country. 

Their sacrifice of the irrigation industry that underpins Australian food security, in a Basin Plan that has little environmental justification, other than a ‘fresh-water’ solution for the naturally estuarine Lower Lakes of Alexandrina & Albert is surely obvious.

Proof of this FACT is the Recommendation imbedded in the Final Plan of ‘Future Salinity Targets’ – a reduction from the historical agreed target at Morgan SA of 800 ECs to 500 ECs, to even 500 ECs at Murray Bridge; coupled with a massive ‘future water grab’ in that the Lower Lakes be maintained at 1000 ECs or lower!

The ramifications of this proposal if implemented would be that in future drought or low flow periods, there would be little or no water for food and fibre production, and critical human needs (urban water supplies) or stock and domestic supply could be jeopardised.

On this basis NSW and Victoria should totally reject this outrageous Plan.

Surely it is time that Australians realise they are being ‘conned’ by the false claims of ‘dead and dying rivers’ or ‘Lower Lakes being freshwater’ and acknowledge the Lower Lakes natural estuarine history with a 1 million ML annual evaporation rate.
This evaporation factor alone squanders vital water resources; water that is captured in the Upper States dams and rivers to support the Lower Lakes supply, whilst the man-made Barrages continue to be used in times of drought and low-flows, to halt the Southern Ocean that would naturally flow freely into these Estuarine Lower Lakes.

It is heartening to see the NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner MP and the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh MP, both giving a commitment that these States will walk away from the Draft MDB Plan unless it is balanced and fully address State raised issues.

 In summary 6 Reasons for Rejection of the Plan:
1.  The existing State Water Sharing Plans flexibility and benefits, ignored in the Plan
2.  The ‘Over-Allocation’ Myth
3.  The Sustainable Diversion Limits illusion
4.  The 2007 Water Act bias
5.  MDBA Commissioners appointments should be by each State
6.  Lower Lakes and Barrages future management, not included in the Plan!

Our Basin communities now expect that these State Governments will now act on their recent statements and take action and totally reject this flawed bias Basin Plan.

Basin Communities and all Australians must not be complacent in stating, to Politicians, Bureaucrats and Media, that we totally reject this unbalanced destructive Basin Plan.

Neil J Eagle
4 June 2012. 
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