Reviews alone are not a solution to the problems facing the Murray-Darling river system.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says more reviews of water management across the Murray-Darling Basin must come alongside actual reform, or our rivers, wetlands and wildlife will deteriorate further through inaction.
ACF’s Director of Campaigns, Dr Paul Sinclair, said there appear to be issues with the $79 million water buyback from Eastern Australia Agriculture and some other deals cut with irrigators in recent years, but that more reviews alone were not a solution to the problems facing the Murray-Darling.
“We’ve had numerous reviews over the last two years, including a Royal Commission, all of which have found the Murray-Darling’s rivers, wetlands and wildlife, and the communities that rely of them, are getting a raw deal at best,” Dr Sinclair said.
“What we haven’t had is strong political commitment to the major reform these reviews have recommended to put the environmental recovery of our inland rivers back on track.
“The vast bulk of the recommendations of the South Australian Royal Commission are still sitting on the shelf and if implemented would go a long way to ensuring the integrity of the bipartisan plan to save the Murray-Darling.
“We also know further reforms are needed. We need strong new environment laws that properly protect the interests of nature and a national EPA to enforce them. We need to account for climate change in the Basin Plan. And we need a federal anti-corruption body to get to the heart of allegations of public mismanagement.
“Any new review should cover the broad sweep of problems our inland rivers face: dodgy political deals, quagmire irrigation infrastructure projects, alleged water theft, special pumping rules, and all the other ways our communities and the environment are coming off second best.
“Most importantly, any additional review must be backed be real action, not more paper, lawyers and talk.”