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Murray Darling Basin - Baldwin plan puts river health, communities at risk

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 28 Aug 2015

Greens water spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has warned the Abbott-Truss government from using the stocktake of irrigation projects to justify winding up plans for retrieving water to ensure river health across the Murray Darling Basin.

"This stocktake looks like a ploy by Water Minister Bob Baldwin to justify the government's long term aim to allow big irrigators to retain water that should go back to the ailing river system," Senator Rhiannon said.

"It is concerning that the Minister rushes in to make such a far reaching decision before the stocktake has been subjected to a thorough scientific analysis.

"Any benefits to the health of the Murray Darling Basin from yet to be completed engineering projects cannot be reliably factored into any stocktake.

"It is not clear if these projects will be completed and if they are what the impact will be on water saving measures.

"It looks like Minister Baldwin is working a swiftie with these figures. He is using this so called stocktake to back the interests of big irrigators to the detriment of communities and the environment across the basin.

"Under the current Basin Plan water needed for healthy rivers and the floodplain has already been drastically reduced to a level that many question, is not adequate.

"The current Basin Plan sets out 2750 GL to be returned for river health.

"Environmental flows are critical to the viability of communities across the Murray Darling Basin.

"Opposition water spokesperson Mark Butler would be making a bad move if he backed the government on this plan," Senator Rhiannon said.

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