Media release

Murray Darling Basin Authority's independence under attack

Release: 7 December 2010

The announced resignation of Michael Taylor, Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority appears to be the result of political interference and a lack of support for the Basin Planning process from Government and Opposition parties.

The intent of the Water Act is to bring the environment up to par with past social and economic considerations in the Basin, to identify the amount of water required to maintain and restore environmental assets then optimize social and economic outcomes.

The popular call for economic and social aspects of the Plan to be given equal weighting to environmental needs disregards the Water Act, the intent of legislation and puts at risk the natural resource base that rural communities and economies rely on.

The Water Act was designed to give the environment precedence, to bring the environment up to par with past social and economic considerations in the Basin. This was the basic intent of the then Howard Government, Opposition parties and the key reason for the Federal Act.

The Water Act reflects the stated intent of all political parties, has had bi-partisan support of two parliaments and correctly gives initial precedence to the environmental requirements to maintain a healthy sustainable river system.

The Water Act clearly defines the process to be used to in the production of the Basin Plan, its presentation to the Minister and eventual passage through parliament.

It is hoped that all parties will support this process as they have in the past and rightfully reserve their right to debate legislation when presented later by the
Government of the day.

We urge political leaders to follow the original intent of the Water Act and present the Basin Plan as the best environmental, social and economic positive it undoubtedly is for Murray Darling Basin.

John Pettigrew
Spokesperson for Environmental Farmers Network
150 Maneroo Rd  Bunbartha 3634

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