Media Releases | 19th Mar, 2010

Rudd, Wong must act on NSW Murray wetland destruction

Friday, 19 March 2010

Leading environment groups from across the Murray Darling Basin have called for action by Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong on the ongoing logging of River Murray wetlands.

The NSW wetlands are Living Murray icon sites and a focus of environmental water buyback under the Rudd Government’s $12.9 billion Water for the Future program, announced in 2008.

“The Rudd governments plan to fix the Murray River and its icon wetlands is under serious risk from logging by the NSW government” said Ms Bev Smiles, spokesperson for the Inland Rivers Network.

“This really is very simple. You cannot protect and restore internationally recognised wetlands on the Murray whilst at the same time allowing them to be heavily logged”

The NSW government has recently announced logging to end in a small section of one of the Murray’s internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands, but will continue to allow logging in the remaining 64 percent.

“There are national and international conservation values at stake. These important wetland forests and their threatened species must be protected” said Juliet LeFuevre, Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers campaigner.

Environment groups have pointed to the billions of dollars being spent to buy-back environmental water for the Murray as a reason to act swiftly to end logging.

“This is no way to secure a much needed significant investment in water for rivers and wetlands. We need the best possible land and water management combined if the river and its wetlands are to be restored” Ms LeFuevre said.

“These internationally recognised wetlands are literally dying for a drink. Continued logging while they are waiting is like kicking a man when he’s down” said Matt Ruchel from VNPA.

“We call upon the Rudd government to work with the NSW government to have the globally significant wetlands on the Murray fully protected from logging” he said.

Information or comment

Bev Smiles 0428 817282 or Juliet LeFuevre 0428 770 019.