Unanswered questions on the future of the River Murray should be addressed at a Basin Plan public meeting in Adelaide today, Coalition Murray-Darling Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said.
The meeting at the Adelaide Convention Centre today from 10am is the last such one scheduled by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority before formal consultation ends in less than two weeks on the proposed Basin Plan released last November.
The only others in South Australia have been held in Murray Bridge in December and Renmark last month, while four “open-house, drop-in style sessions” are still to be conducted in the eastern states – in Hay, Broken Hill, Sydney and Melbourne.
“South Australians and stakeholders throughout the Murray-Darling Basin still have many concerns and unanswered questions that I hope the Authority will address in Adelaide today,” Senator Birmingham said today.
They include:
  • What proportion of environmental flows, or amount of flows, on average will make it to South Australia, to the Lower Lakes and to the Murray Mouth?
  • What will be the key environmental targets or metrics – such as with regard to salinity and water quality – for the Lower Murray, Lower Lakes and Coorong?
  • How will water recovered for the environment be used in South Australia and elsewhere?
  • Has the Authority taken into account long-standing efficiencies, such as those of South Australian irrigators who have lived and worked under a cap for 40 years? If so, what impact has this had on the Plan?
  • How much water will be recovered from South Australian irrigators under the Basin Plan?
“Whether or not the Authority can provide answers today to questions such as these, they will certainly have to be addressed through the Basin Plan’s finalisation by the Authority and/or Water Minister Tony Burke.”
Senator Birmingham also reminded anyone interested not to leave it too late to make a submission – due by Monday week, 16 April.
“Whether you’re an irrigator, or part of the wider communities relying on a healthy river system or just want to see our largest river system managed sustainably, you deserve to have your voice heard as part of this process.”