Mar 7, 2007

Action needed to rescue the Darling River

Action needed to rescue the Darling River


7 March 2007

Today’s report from the Murray Darling Basin Commission that the Darling River is running dry because of over-extraction is a wake up call for the Howard Government.

Addressing the over-allocation of water entitlements is critical to resolving the crises in the Darling River and the Murray Darling Basin.

The Commonwealth Government should be purchasing over-allocated water entitlements and, as the Prime Minister said on 25 January,

We could muddle through as has occurred in the past, but frankly, that gets us nowhere. Without decisive action we face the worst of both worlds.

The Commonwealth has a key leadership role in resolving the over-allocation of water licences in the Murray Darling Basin.

The only political group which opposes the Commonwealth showing leadership and taking steps to ensure sustainable water flows in the Murray Darling Basin is the National Party.

All levels of the National Party now oppose John Howard’s plan to use $3 billion from the $10 billion fund to “adjust water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin”.

John Howard has got to decide what’s more important, the national interest or the National Party.

John Howard must keep his commitment made on 25 January “to invest up to $3 billion in buying back water entitlements and assisting irrigators in the unviable or inefficient parts of schemes to exit the industry.”