The Murray-Darling is in crisis and the delayed Guide to the Basin Plan should be released now so all Parties can respond during the election, according to grass-roots advocacy movement ComeOnAustralia.com.
ComeOnAustralia.com today said there is widespread concern about the arteries of the continent, the Murray Darling river system, yet the Government and the Murray Darling Authority are dithering.
"The Prime Minister said she wanted a sustainable Australia, but her Government is sitting on the biggest sustainability issue the nation currently faces," a spokesperson said. "Is she serious or is it more talk and no action?
"The Murray Darling needs fixing - no question, no delay. Three years ago the Federal Government allocated $6 billion to spend on the problem. This money is to be spent subject to a revised Murray Darling Basin Plan. A draft basin plan was due out by now but was delayed and a guide to the plan was to be released which included new sustainable diversion limits. The guide was also going to allow irrigators to provide feedback on those limits.
"Now the guide is on hold until at least September, putting the release of the draft plan back to the end of the year at the earliest.
"The Minister for Water, Penny Wong, says that she can’t direct the Murray Darling Basin Authority to release the report because it is independent.
"This is a furphy. The Minister has powers to direct and approve certain actions of the Authority if she wants. On the other hand, if the Authority was independent caretaker provisions wouldn’t apply and it would get on and do its job and release the report. The timetable for the release of this document was already decided and political considerations should not be part of the considerations of the Authority.
"All parties are on record agreeing to release the report. So, even if caretaker conventions applied, those same conventions allow all for the use of the Minister’s powers - if all sides of politics consent. If the Government can call a mining campaign a national emergency to set aside its advertising rules, this national sustainability crisis certainly warrants everybody consenting to the release of the report.
"Voters in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland should not be in the dark on what the Basin plan will mean for them."
ComeOnAustralia.com has created a public petition demanding the report be released. The Petition is online at www.ComeOnAustralia.com
“Let’s send a strong message to all Parties. Release the report and fix the Murray-Darling”, ComeOn said.
ComeOnAustralia.com is a new, grass roots, not for profit advocacy organisation for mainstream Australia. It is independent of big companies, Government and political parties. Participants pick and choose the issues that matter for them.
Come On - Sign the Release the Murray Darling Report Now ePetition