News | 15th Mar, 2016

Greens slam state call for Murray reform halt

Peter Kerl, The Age
Thursday, 10 February 2011

Environment groups have urged the federal government to continue with the pace of reform and water buybacks in the Murray Darling river system, despite Victoria's scathing rejection of the process this week.

Green groups said they were disappointed by the Victorian government's contribution to the ''basin plan'', which saw the state criticise the science, management and co-ordination of reform plans for the Murray.

Environment Victoria chief Kelly O'Shanassy rejected Victoria's call for river reform plans to be deferred while more research was done. ''It will take at least a decade to implement new water-sharing arrangements, so we need to get on with it. If we continue to delay the job will never get done,'' she said.

''The recent rains and floods may have rescued the Murray from near-environmental collapse, but nothing can survive on a drink once in a decade.''

Victoria also denounced the preoccupation with buying back farmers' water rights, but Ms O'Shanassy said buybacks were the cheapest and most efficient way of returning water to rivers.

Federal Water Minister Tony Burke said he agreed with many aspects of Victoria's submission, but would not abide the calls for further delay.