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National Water Commission: No plan - no future for Murray-Darling

National Water Commission: No plan - no future for Murray-Darling

Media Release: 5 September 2008

The comment by National Water Commission CEO Ken Matthews earlier this week, that there are no national guidelines for dealing with over-allocation, raises questions about the raison-d'etre of the Commission.

He went on to say that, under current conditions, many significant water-dependent ecosystems are under threat.

According to their own core documents, "the National Water Commission is responsible for driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia's water resources under our blueprint for water reform - the National Water Initiative".

The Commission also states that "the National Water Initiative aims to improve environmental management practices to ensure adequate water for the environment and for other public benefit outcomes. Defining management goals, establishing environmental water managers and monitoring environmental outcomes are central to meeting this aim".

Fair Water Use has contacted Mr Matthews, asking him to define how the Commission intends to drive towards this vital aim of the National Water Initiative: a scheme which, by his own admission, is devoid of a national strategy to address over-allocation, at the root of the current Murray-Darling crisis.

This is yet another justification of the need to declare a State of Emergency and to empanel a Royal Commission to inquire into the management and governance of the Murray-Darling Basin, as submitted yesterday by Fair Water Use to the Senate inquiry into water management in the Coorong and Lower Lakes:

State of Emergency documentation:
www.fairwateruse.com.au/images/stories/pdfs/SOE.pdf

Royal Commission documentation:
www.fairwateruse.com.au/images/stories/pdfs/RC.pdf

Contact: Ian Douglas: 0416 022178

Authorised by: Ginny Brown, Media Coordinator, media [AT] fairwateruse com au, +61 (0)414 914248

Fair Water Use (Australia), www.fairwateruse.com.au
+61 (0)8 8398 0812, PO Box 384, Balhannah, South Australia 5242

Comments

How hopeless! How disingenuous: "the National Water Commission is responsible for driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia's water resources under our blueprint for water reform - the National Water Initiative"

We have known about these problems since the first world war.
"Driving progress towards..." is just jargon for stalling.
How dare our self-appointed masters cripple the country and needlessly deprive other creatures and trees of water! How dare they allow everything they do to be dictated by the corporate sector.

Fair Water Use is quite right; we need a state of emergency and a national enquiry.
Unfortunately national enquiries are usually conducted within ridiculously narrow terms. We have to avoid yet another allocation of water towards short-term dollars.

Fair Water Use would do well to define the terms and parameters and then hopefully candobetter and others can engage enough real environmentalists and voters to force a relevant enquiry. In the mean time, how does Fair Water Use think that the national emergency should be managed? With the army? With what kinds of processes to ensure transparency? I hope to read more.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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