Updated: April 01, 2012
Environment groups lose confidence in "off the rails" Basin Plan
The Wilderness Society (SA) Inc.
2 April 2012
After meeting with the MDBA last week twelve major environment and community organisations are calling on Minister Burke to intervene to get the Basin Plan back on track.
“The Water Act 2007 does not permit the MDBA to ignore the advice of the country’s leading scientific experts, especially when they commissioned that advice in the first place,” said Peter Owen, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.
The draft Plan does not deliver enough water to the river thus failing the requirements of the Water Act 2007. The groups are calling on Minister Burke to ensure the Plan presented to parliament satisfies the Act.
“After meeting with the MDBA last week, we formed the opinion that they are not prepared to fix the serious problems identified by CSIRO and other scientists. Instead, they are persevering with a flawed process, incomplete data and limited modelling,” said Jonathan La Nauze, Murray-Darling Campaigner with Friends of the Earth.
“Analysis that is fundamental to the credibility of the Basin Plan has not been undertaken,” said Professor Diane Bell, Conservation Council SA. “Without these key pieces of information it is impossible to know if this is a plan for a healthy river.”
“We have simply asked the Authority to complete the analysis which independent scientists including the CSIRO say is required,” said Juliet Le Feuvre, Environment Victoria.
The groups wrote to MDBA Chair Craig Knowles in mid-February, asking for key flaws in the analysis underpinning the draft Plan to be addressed. In response, the Authority called a special meeting with the groups on Thursday last week.
Mr Knowles did not attend the meeting.
Key flaws in the analysis, all identified by independent scientists, include:
- no calculation of the volume of water required to keep all key environmental sites healthy, as required by the Water Act 2007;
- a decision not to calculate or mitigate the loss of environmental flows due to climate change;
- failure to account for loss of environmental flows as a result of increasing groundwater extraction.
“We need a strong, credible Basin Plan that will sustain our environment, communities and economies,” said Dr. Arlene Harriss-Buchan, Healthy Rivers Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation. “We are calling on Minister Burke to ensure such a Plan.”
Peter Owen, The Wilderness Society (SA): 0423 550 018
Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth: 0402 904 251
Professor Diane Bell, Chair Water ESC, Conservation Council SA: 0427 554 194
Tim Kelly, CEO, Conservation Council SA: 0417 879 439
Juliet Le Feuvre, Environment Victoria: 0428 770 019
Dr Arlene Harriss-Buchan, Australian Conservation Foundation: 0407 883 907
Full list of endorsing organisations:
The Wilderness Society
Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Floodplain Association
Conservation Council of South Australia
Darling River Action Group
Environmental Farmers Network
Friends of the Earth
Goulburn Valley Environment Group
Inland Rivers Network
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society (South Australia) Inc
Postal: GPO Box 1734
Adelaide, SA, 5001
Lvl 7, 118 King William St,
Adelaide, SA, 5000
Phone: 08 8231 6586