Cuts to water recovery targets for the southern Murray-Darling Basin could spell disaster for northern Victoria’s rivers, Environment Victoria said today.
The massive 605 billion litre reduction, put forward by the Turnbull government, supported by the Victorian government, and agreed to by the federal ALP, risks the long-term health of rivers in the Basin and relies on projects that are untried, untested and possibly illegal.
“Last night’s deal between the ALP and the Turnbull government means that our precious rivers will get 605 billion litres less water,” said Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager at Environment Victoria.
“Instead of delivering more water to stressed rivers, we’re giving $1.3 billion dollars to projects that are untried, untested and possibly illegal, according to the Murray-Darling Royal Commission.
“The cuts have been rushed through federal parliament because Victoria and NSW threatened to walk away from the Basin Plan unless they were agreed. The decision ignores very serious concerns about the ability of the proposed projects to actually keep the river system healthy.
“The passage of the amendment means that all governments must now commit to delivering the final 450 billion litres of water for improved environmental outcomes. Minister Littleproud has taken the lead by opening expressions of interest. Now he needs to deliver on his word.
“Tony Burke has made a deal where funding is only available if the states start securing the final 450 billion litres. This agreement needs to be absolutely water-tight.
“Victoria and NSW must get on board, publicly commit to the full 3200 billion litres of the plan and work out how the water is to be delivered.
“Victoria and NSW have been very enthusiastic in trying to cut water recovery targets. We expect to now see the same enthusiasm for securing the final 450 billion litres. Otherwise there is no hope that the Basin Plan will deliver for our rivers and make them healthy in the long term,” said Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager at Environment Victoria.
Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaigner
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