Updated: November 01, 2011
Craig Knowle's response to Environment Group's concerns an embarrassment
The Wilderness Society (Sydney) Inc.
2 November 2011
- Basin Plan a national disgrace
- Knowles puts political outcomes before the science
- Risks losing the support of the environment movement
Murray-Darling Basin Authority Chair Craig Knowles refused to provide any details to key environment groups on the so-called “Current Thinking” that will see less water returned to the river system than the MDBA’s own scientific research called for.
Furthermore, the scientific review the MDBA commissioned from CSIRO will not be completed until two weeks after the authority’s recommendations are meant to be finalised.
The twelve environment groups wrote to Mr Knowles requesting the information after a presentation from the MDBA in early October. His response, received late last week, did little to address their concerns that the amount of water the Authority proposes to return to the river will be enough to save it.
“The response from Craig Knowles is not only inadequate but frankly an embarrassment. Based on his comments and the presentation given by the MDBA to environment groups, the soon to be released Basin Plan will be a national disgrace,” said Chris Daley, rivers campaigner for the Wilderness Society in Sydney today.
“In his response, Knowles has indicated that he is expecting the report back from the CSIRO science review at the end of October. This is nearly two weeks after the supposed 'pens-down' deadline for the authority. This is perhaps the clearest indication we've had yet that the figure of 2,800 gigalitres is a pre-determined outcome driven by pressure from Big Irrigation and has little to do with getting the best possible outcome for the river.” continued Daley.
“With $10 billion of taxpayer's money on the table, it is inconceivable that the constraints to returning more water cannot be overcome. Surely this is a better use of the money allocated for infrastructure than building more concrete channels. As it stands, any plan based on what we've seen will represent a colossal waste of taxpayers money and the squandering of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix the problems of the Murray-Darling once and for all”.
“Craig Knowles signs off his letter by saying he looks forward to continuing to work with Environment NGOs yet if he continues to treat us with the contempt he's shown so far, he might not want to count on that.” concluded Daley.
The letter from the twelve environment groups to Craig Knowles can be read here
The response from Craig Knowles can be read here
For comment contact:
Chris Daley, NSW Rivers Campaigner: 0451 007 915
For further information contact: Alex Tibbitts, Media Adviser: 0416 420 168
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Sydney Inc
Postal address: PO Box K249 Haymarket, NSW, 1240
Suite 402, Level 4, 64-76 Kippax St,
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
Phone: 02 9282 9553