This report finds that failing to return more environmental water to the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin places 140 Victorian threatened species at increased risk of extinction.
It also reveals that Victoria has been a major roadblock to delivering water to rivers and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin, and this uncooperative approach further endangers threatened fish, birds, frogs and plants that depend on freshwater flows for their survival.
To safeguard Victorian biodiversity that relies on a healthy Murray River system, this report makes the following urgent recommendations. By the end of the 2023:
- The Australian and Victorian governments must work together to identify failing water offset projects in the supply measures program and commit to securing real water in their place
- The Victorian Government must stop opposing the Australian Government’s intention to purchase water for the environment so that the 450 gigalitres (GL) of additional water for the environment can be recovered. This includes abandoning the inappropriately named and unworkable ‘socio-economic test’
- The Australian Government must amend the Water Act to remove the 1500 GL cap on water purchases and commit to recovering all remaining water required by the Basin Plan as quickly as possible
- The Australian and Victorian governments must agree to a new approach to relaxing constraints that will allow the achievement of managed overbank flows within a reasonable timeframe. A panel of independent experts should be appointed to find a workable pathway, and the Commonwealth must be prepared to assert its power to acquire easements if the states continue to delay.
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Header image: Murray Cod. Credit Guo Chai Lim (flickr CC)