Environment Victoria (EV) today welcomed Victoria’s return to the negotiating table on the Murray but warned that the river needs water quickly and will not survive further bureaucratic wrangling.
“It’s good news that the States and Commonwealth are finally coming to the table on tackling the Murray’s woes, but not if the environment is on the menu,’’ EV’s Campaign Director Mark Wakeham said.
“While Mr Brumby has secured Victorian irrigators allocation for the next decade he’s yet to secure the health of Victoria’s northern rivers which feed the Murray. An urgent water buyback program is required.”
Mr Wakeham said the $1 billion towards recovering water through upgrading Victorian irrigation infrastructure was a good start, “but to seriously tackle over-allocation of the river it is imperative that both the State and Commonwealth bite the bullet and buy back water allocations”.
“This is the cheapest and most effective way of bringing the river back from the brink,’’ he said. “Buying water for the environment is the best use of public money; the price of water on the market today is ¼ of the price of infrastructure upgrades.
“This deal returns 100 billion litres of water to the environment which is a great start, but falls well short of the Rudd Government’s pre-election commitment to recover 1500 billion litres for the river system.
“Environment Victoria looks forward to working with the State and Federal Governments with a sense of urgency to get more water back into the river for the environment.”