Those interested in maintaining Australia’s long term agricultural productive capacity are awaiting the release of the latest iteration of the Murray Darling Basin Plan at the end of this month, with great interest and some apprehension. The attached video, particularly Louise Burge’s comments, is spot on.
The Murray Darling Basin rivers are not, in general, unhealthy. In fact, following the recent wetter years the Basin has arguably never been in better shape. Yet the likes of the ACF continue to talk about “on the brink of eco-collapse”.
The fear is that the Report will proceed from the false premise that the rivers are unhealthy and that this is due to excessive extractions. Leaks suggest that it will again focus on aggregate entitlements and ignore the success of the Water Sharing Plans and their limit on allocations when water is in short supply.
It will fail to recognise the great achievement, as a consequence of storages, diversions (Snowy) and extraction limitations of keeping the Murray River flowing throughout the lowest run-off period in Australia’s recorded history. We should be celebrating not lamenting!