Environment Victoria has welcomed the passage of the "450 Gigalitre Bill" through the Australian Parliament. The Gillard government’s commitment to getting extra water for the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin is now law and the job of recovering water for the over-allocated river system and returning the rivers to health can begin in earnest.
Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said today:
“The legislation to secure extra water for the Murray-Darling is good news and increases the chances of the river system returning to health. We’re pleased that the legislation has been supported by both the ALP and the Coalition, and trust that this means that whoever wins the next election, the Murray will still get this 450 GL.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Plan passed at the end of last year fell well short of giving our rivers the water they need and the extra 450 GL will make a big difference to wetlands, woodlands and forests up and down the river, giving them a fighting chance unless we return to drought. It will keep salinity in the Coorong below critical levels and provide more water for wetlands like Gunbower Forest so birds and fish can breed.
“With the legislation in place it’s now time to get on with restoring our rivers to health. It’s time for state governments in NSW and Victoria to stop sniping and start implementing and investing in delivering the Basin Plan. Basin communities rely on healthy rivers for their long term future and rivers need real water to keep them healthy. The Basin Plan falls short of doing the job properly but the state governments continue to try to undercut even its limited prescriptions.
“The total of 3,200 gigalitres provided by the legislation is the bare minimum our rivers need to have any chance of returning to health. Today’s legislation is encouraging news for the Murray, but there is no room for complacency and it’s highly likely we’ll need to revisit the Basin Plan in coming years to guarantee the river system the water it needs.”
For comment: Juliet Le Feuvre 0428 770 019