Review of Victoria’s North and Murray Water Resource Plan

Submission by Friends of the Earth Melbourne March 2019

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As a collective that is concerned with water management in Victoria and across the Murray Darling Basin, Friends of the Earth Melbourne welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Draft North and Murray Water Resource Plan.

Friends of the Earth's River Country has campaigned for 18 years with Indigenous nations along the Murray River to protect over 250,000 hectares of Red Gum Forests in new national parks and conservation reserves. Our mission is to see a flourishing Murray-Darling Basin where Indigenous peoples enjoy sovereign rights to country.

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Senate Submission: Water Amendment (Purchase Limit Repeal) Bill 2019

Tilpa_Banner.jpegWhen the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement passed with bipartisan support in 2012 it was hailed as the greatest environmental policy in Australia’s history. The plan was to restore the health of the Murray Darling river system by returning water to the rivers, allowing them to flow.

The recent fish kills in Menindee and scattered throughout the Basin have come as a shock to the public, while local communities have been crying for help for years.

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Menindee to lose the last of their fish

murraycod2.jpegThe latest announcement by NSW Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair on the lower Darling has been dubbed a political stunt by Menindee locals.

This morning, NSW DPI began relocating the remaining fish that have survived the blue green algal blooms and fish kills the Wentworth weir pool and Narrandera Fisheries hatchery. 

This announcement comes over a week after the third mass fish kill in the area with locals expecting another in the coming days as temperatures are expected to drop once again. On Tuesday, Murray Cod and thousands of bony bream were seen congregating at weir 32, unable to enter the fish ladder and stuck gasping for air.

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2018 River Country Campaign Diary

The Story So Far...

River_Country.JPGRiver Country has long campaigned for river red gums along the Murray.

Our Story in 2018 is one of connecting with grassroots in Victoria and further a field, building momentum and bringing creative flare to the water debate.

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New safeguards for who?

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Victoria and New South Wales have released new criteria prioritising economic outcomes for water recovery projects under the Murray Darling Basin Plan

We all know the network of rivers in the Basin is invaluable to communities and indigenous culture. The Basin Plan was developed to restore the health of our river ecosystems after a century of over extraction brought them to the brink of collapse.

The environment was to come first because we can't survive if we kill the river.

The question begs, are water ministers acting to support all life in the Basin?

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A Dead River’s a Real Drag

Banner_Shot_small_1.jpegIt’s quarter to midnight, and we are driving as fast as we can in a twin cab ute named Djinn on a dirt road that is mostly potholes, avoiding kangaroos and stopping only to pop a squat on the red dirt. We sing along to Aussie prog rock and admire all the stars in the clear sky. We have driven 800 kms from Narrm to advocate for a dying river system with queer drag and performance art. 

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Wadi Wadi Traditional Owners Still Waiting

Discussions between traditional owners and government stakeholders have left cracks in dry soil. 

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Last week, River Country facilitated a long awaited discussion between traditional owners, concerned community members and government representatives from Mallee CMA, DELWP and Parks Victoria in Nyah-Vinifera on Wadi Wadi Country. 

T
he four-hour long meeting saw tensions arise as took community shared their concerns for park management after changes in the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

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Federal Government Fails Murray-Darling River Communities

605_billion_Litres_small.pngHave you heard the news? Last week the Federal Government slashed the Murray Darling Basin Plan by one fifth.

The Basin Plan was an agreement to restore the health of the river after drought and decades of over extraction had decimated the ecological communities on the river. The river has been sick for a long time, the Darling has run dry, and fish, birdlife and wetlands are struggling near the mouth of the Murray. This change is one more nail in the coffin.

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Murray Darling Basin Plan Under Threat

The River Country campaign is calling on the Victorian Government to stop undermining the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP). City and country people are rising up to demand that Murray-Darling Rivers are kept alive!

The Federal Governments is trying to reduce the amount of environmental water that was promised for our precious Red Gum forests. Last year the NSW Government was accused of corruption and allowing water theft to occur, and now Victorian Minister for water Lisa Neville has decided to side with NSW by threatening to walk away from the MDBP.

That's why last month, people from around Victoria came together on the steps of Victorian Parliament to call on Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government to stick up for the Murray and deliver the water that was promised to our fragile Red Gum ecosystems.

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River Country Returns in 2018

IMG_8560_blog.JPGLast year was a big year for the Murray Darling. The Darling ran dry, Four Corners exposed upstream water theft thrusting our river into the national spotlight and bickering over the Murray Darling Basin Plan threatened to cut back the amount water that is returned to the environment. With a Victorian State Election and a key decision about the fate of the Murray Darling Basin Plan pending for February, 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger.

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