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Why did Karlene Maywald conceal surrender in fight to save Coorong from Goolwa meeting?

See also: Minister Karlene Maywald 'too busy' for Save the Murray rally of 1 Aug 08, Why Karlene Maywald must lose water portfolio of 10 Aug 08

Maywald should have told Goolwa meeting about Weir

Media release of 5 Aug 08 from Mark Parnell, Greens member of the South Australian Legislative Council.

Minister Maywald should have told last night's River Murray meeting in Goolwa that work will begin shortly on the Wellington Weir, says Greens MLC Mark Parnell.

This morning, the Minister for Water Security revealed on ABC Radio that Cabinet last week had signed off on $30 million worth of preparatory work on the Weir at Wellington, but did not mention it at a major community briefing last night which Mark Parnell attended.

"Last night, there were 300 people in Goolwa talking to Minister Maywald about the future of the Lower Lakes and Coorong, yet she didn't see fit to mention to us that the Government had already agreed to begin work on the Wellington Weir," said Mr Parnell.

"Surely we had a right to know. What's the point in talking about more fresh water flows down the Murray when Cabinet has already given up on that idea?

"Last night, I asked Karlene Maywald if the Government had "given up" on achieving sufficient freshwater flows to keep the Lower lakes and Coorong alive. She replied: "absolutely not". Yet, how can she reconcile that with the Cabinet decision last week to approve spending $30million to start construction of the Wellington Weir?

"Make no mistake: the Wellington Weir will irreversibly destroy the Lower Lakes as a freshwater environment. With the risk of acidification if the Lakes are allowed to dry out, the prospect of flooding the Lakes with seawater then becomes inevitable.

"Such an outcome would prove beyond doubt what an absolute failure present and past Governments both Labor and Liberal have been at protecting the Murray.

"To actively plan the death of the terminus of our continent's major river is a criminal act.

"The Greens have not given up on the Lower Lakes and we once again call on the Federal Government to immediately buy back water and send it down the River," he said.

For further comment contact Craig Wilkins on 0434 007 893

Appendix: Excerpt from Why Karlene Maywald must lose water portfolio

Originally published in Adelaide Now on 10 Aug 08

... the state Water Security Minister (was) selectively cautious with her words, bordering on being deceitful. Her lack of vital information at a Goolwa community meeting this week was atrocious.

The next day Karlene Maywald finally let the wildly-scratching cat out of the bag. In a very matter-of-fact way she announced that $30 million had been approved to start serious site work on the Wellington Weir, which hasn't yet been given the final go-ahead, because she says it mightn't ever be built.

Yeah, right.

You would have thought that such ominous news might have been passed on to the 300 Goolwa people whose lifestyles and livelihoods are hanging in the balance.

So why did it have such an unpleasant odour? After having dodged a large protest rally in the city last week, due to commitments in her own Riverland electorate, the Minister was quite forceful in defending any suggestions that she was gutless.

That criticism was levelled by her opponents and even some of her Riverland brethren who'd travelled to town to ask questions, get some answers or at the very least some future direction.

But the Minister claimed she wasn't gutless because she'd already planned to travel the river's length for the rest of the week addressing community concerns. In itself that's commendable, but surely it's the very least she should be doing as the Minister in charge of the crisis.

With Cabinet having recently agreed to spend tens of millions of dollars on the work which now seems likely to be a permanent structure across the once-mighty Murray, the Minister should have told that to the Goolwa meeting.

See also:  Minister Karlene Maywald 'too busy' for Save the Murray rally of 1 Aug 08