The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged the federal government to ignore key recommendations of a parliamentary committee on the Murray-Darling Basin led by senators David Leyonhjelm, Bob Day and John Madigan.

“This committee wants to stop the recovery of vital environmental water that is keeping alive globally-recognised wetlands, waterbirds and much loved species of native fish,” said ACF’s Healthy Ecosystems campaign manager Jonathan La Nauze.

“Its proposal to flood Lakes Albert and Alexandrina with sea water flies in the face of Ngarrindjeri oral history, local knowledge and peer reviewed science. This globally recognised wetland system needs natural flows of freshwater to survive.

“This committee’s report promotes thoroughly discredited, flat-earth theories about the River Murray that would fail high school science,” he said.

The report was tabled in the Senate today, hours after Basin residents who support environmental flows said they felt the committee chair, Senator Leyonhjelm, was biased and had aggressively dismissed their views in regional hearings.

One regional group was so upset about Senator Leyonhjelm’s treatment of community members in Goolwa that the group formally complained to the President of the Senate.

In the last year, environmental water recovered under the Basin Plan:

  • Kept the Murray Mouth open with freshwater flows, preventing 3 million tonnes of sea salt from flowing back into the Murray
  • Made possible the successful spawning of critically endangered silver perch in Victoria’s Goulburn River and the Murrumbidgee in NSW
  • Replenished water levels in the famous Gwydir wetlands in Northern NSW, leading to healthier wetland vegetation and increased numbers of seven waterbird species, including Latham’s snipe, the tailed sandpiper, brolgas and magpie geese.

“The government should consign this report to the bin where it belongs and get on with the job of delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which is bringing health back to the rivers that underpin life throughout south-eastern Australia.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.