Media Releases | 14th Nov, 2016

Time to look at all sides of Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Environment Victoria has welcomed the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) announcement today that it will assess the full range of impacts of the Basin Plan.

The Basin Plan is intended to achieve environmental, social and economic improvements across the entire Murray-Darling Basin and changes in all of these must be taken into account in assessing the effectiveness of the Plan.

Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager Juliet Le Feuvre said today:

“In recent months we have heard a lot about short-term economic impacts but not much about long-term environmental gains. Too often the community benefits of healthy rivers are ignored. Recreation, tourism, community well-being, the environment and agriculture itself all suffer when rivers are short of water.

“Environment Victoria welcomes the MDBA commitment to assessing the full range of impacts, environmental, social and economic, of the Basin Plan in 2017. The Plan is intended to protect and restore the health of our rivers and wetlands and provide a sustainable future for Basin communities. It is important to know how the Plan is doing across the board and across the Basin.

“The Basin Plan is a long-term project to fix a long-term problem of over-allocation of water and environmental decline across the entire Murray-Darling. Decisions made in one part of the Basin have impacts elsewhere and a look at progress across the whole suite of outcomes, positive and negative, is overdue.

“We are very concerned about the impacts of climate change on water resources in the Basin. Water availability in northern Victoria has already declined significantly with more change projected for the future.  The imperative to protect our environment is increasing from year to year.

“Earlier this year, low flows turned the mighty Murray River bright green over hundreds of kilometres for weeks on end, causing damage to agriculture and tourism alike. The Darling River is in danger of being cut off from the Murray because of over-extraction upstream in NSW. These impacts hurt downstream communities.

“We need to know that the Basin Plan is being effective in improving environmental health. Nobody benefits from sick rivers.”

For interview and further comment:

Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaigner
Direct: (03) 9341 8106 Mobile: 0428 770 019