Murray-Darling Rivers doomed by Authority's plan

The Barmah-Millewa Collective joined more than a dozen peak environmental groups recently for a special briefing by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. What we heard was what we were expecting from the recent leaks about the draft Basin Plan. The Authority has bowed to pressure by the irrigation lobby and is planning on returning a measly 2800 gigalitres of water to the environment. This is roughly half of what the best available scientific modelling has consistently shown is needed to restore the rivers to health.

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Scientific Review Commissioned... But Flawed

This year there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) scientific modeling, culminating with a walk-out by the Wentworth Group in May. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth have been demanding an independent peer review of the Basin Plan’s methodology and results for months (http://melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=bmc/news/23May11), so the MDBA finally commissioned an independent body to form a report on the Basin Plan, which will be released at the end of September.

However, this review can only investigate and report according to very specific and limiting terms of reference; it will not question critical assumptions made that underpin the scientific modeling. For example, only 18 out of 2442 key ecological sites have been used to indicate the health and water needs of the whole system – a risky assumption which needs to be properly examined, but is not being questioned by the CSIRO. Fundamentally, we doubt whether the review will answer the key question of whether the MDBA has used the best available science, as required by the Water Act 2007. We will continue to call on the MDBA to pay heed to the large body of existing scientific work which shows thatanything less than 4,000GL of environmental flows will not save the river.

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Murray-Darling Basin Plan DELAYED

There has been a major development in our campaign for healthy environmental flows in the Murray-Darling Basin: the draft Basin Plan’s release has been postponed from August to early November. This means that the consultation period (during which the public can respond to the Plan) will be for 20 weeks from November until March. This is the time when you are more able than ever to exercise your democratic right to shape policy. Read more
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Why we want a strong Basin Plan: "I love.. / We Can.." Photo Collage Short Film

On 7th and 8th of July a dozen volunteers from Friends of the Earth and the Students of Sustainability Conference took to the main street of Albury armed with blank chalkboards and time to chat.

We asked people 'What do you love about the Murray? What we can do to look after it?' and if they would like to send their answer to Murray-Darling Basin Authority Chair Craig Knowles and Water Minister Tony Burke.

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CSG THREAT TO MURRAY-DARLING: 12.7 MILLION HECTARES AND COUNTING

Seven environment groups last week provided a detailed submission to the Federal Senate Inquiry into coal seam gas and the Murray-Darling, arguing that the industry represents one of the gravest new threats that has ever been seen to the Basin.

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Put science ahead of politics!

Over the weekend, news broke that the Wentworth Group had withdrawn its involvement with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority because of concerns over political interference in the development of a scientifically credible environmental flow regime.

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Dirty Deal Shoots Hole in Red Gum Parks

With Victoria's new Red Gum Parks to be officially proclaimed in ceremonies along the river tommorrow, we are very sorry to have to bring you some bad news.

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NSW Red Gum: 109,000ha to be protected... maybe

At the time of our last update on December 7, over 100,000 ha of new red gum national parks in NSW had just been announced... and then put back into doubt, all within a matter of days.

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NSW Red Gums in jeopardy

7th December 2009

Last Thursday, in his last hours as NSW Premier, Nathan Rees made an historic announcement - after a year of controversy over illegal logging, the NSW government would protect the state's globally significant Red Gum wetlands. A National Park would be created at Millewa Forest, along with new reserves along the major rivers in south-western NSW.

This is a magnificent environmental outcome.  It protects globally significant wetlands and threatened species that are facing severe long-term threats to their survival.

However, there is now massive pressure being brought to bear on the new Premier, Kristina Keneally, to reverse the decision.  This would be a disaster. ABC News and the Sydney Morning Herald have reported that the parks are in doubt, and rumours abound that anti-conservation forces within the ALP are lobbying against the parks. It is crucial that the whole of Cabinet receive a flood of emails this week urging the Red Gum decision be implemented.

This is the most important moment in the NSW Red Gum campaign.  We urgently need your help to lock-in this historic reserve outcome.

Please take action by doing any or all of the following:

1. Email the Premier and Cabinet Ministers - click here to use send an email from the National Parks Association website in just two minutes

2. Phone the Premier's office on 02 9228 5239. Below are some suggestions on points to make.

3. Encourage your friends, family and networks to take action by using the "share" button on the right to send this page to them.

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Red Gum protestors vindicated - NSW logging is illegal

Five months ago Friends of the Earth joined the Yorta Yorta people and Red Gum Forest Action in a protest that stopped logging in the Millewa State Forest for ten days. We took this step as a last resort after the NSW and Commonwealth governments refused to stop the logging despite clear evidence it was illegal.

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