Victoria asks Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to reaffirm his support for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s recommendation of 2,750 gigalitres of environmental outcomes, as agreed in the 9 July 2012 Ministerial Communique.
The 3,200 gigalitre modelling shows only marginal improvement of environmental outcomes for a significant socio-economic cost that is far too great for communities.
Transmitting 3,200 gigalitres of environmental water would cause substantial and sustained flooding of towns and private land, which is totally unacceptable to Victoria.
All states and the Commonwealth gave support to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s recommended 2,750 gigalitres of outcomes in the Ministerial Council’s July 9 Communique, with Victoria’s support contingent on apportionment of water recovery and an appropriate sustainable diversion limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism.
South Australia is being absolutely hypocritical in its demand for 3,200 gigalitres and that has again been reinforced this week.
South Australia has announced they will mothball their desalination plant and instead will increase their take from the Murray River, piping it as far away as Ceduna which is some 750 kilometres from the river.
Is South Australia concerned with river health, or is its motivation to get more water down the Murray so they can pipe it to Adelaide and beyond?
The Commonwealth Government gave South Australia $328 million for its desalination plant so that it could reduce its reliance on the Murray River. South Australia needs to realise that environmental works and measures remain the most effective and affordable way to deliver environmental outcomes all along the Murray.
Focusing on works and measures means better outcomes for the environment, particularly during dry years, when water can go directly to the areas of high value to achieve positive outcomes.
The social and economic cost to northern Victoria of taking even more water away from farmers and their dependent communities is unacceptable to Victorians, and it is unnecessary.
Victoria also confirms its position that there should be no more non-strategic Commonwealth Government water buybacks.