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Changes to MDBP must be blocked: Greens

Proposed changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan that take 605 billion litres away from the environment must be blocked in the Senate next week to prevent the death of the Coorong and Lower Lakes.

“The Coorong and SA’s lower lakes are dying our river system needs more water, not less. The Senate must block the Government’s changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan if the river system is to survive,” Greens Murray Darling Basin spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is failing the bottom end of the river, and taking more water out of the river system would be the final nail in the coffin for the Coorong.

“The Senate is being asked to allow 605 billion litres of water to be ripped off the environment for the sake of untested water efficiency projects, despite a constant flow of reports that big corporate irrigators are stealing water from the river and getting away with it.

“The Greens do not share the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s confidence that the changes to the Basin Plan are going to work, and the Senate is simply being told to trust the Government after a constant string of scandals within the Basin. This is a gamble the Senate must not take.

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is in tatters, thanks to water theft, meter tampering, and special treatment from the Nationals to their big corporate irrigator mates. River communities want the plan to work, but as long as environmental water is intentionally siphoned off into corporate tanks and dams, they can have little faith that our nation’s food bowl is going to sustain us into the future.

“There must be an independent audit into the Murray Darling Basin Plan. We need a commitment from the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Government that the Coorong and Lower Lakes survival is a key priority in managing the health of the river system going forward. Taking more water out of environmental flows goes against the survival of the Murray, and must be stopped.”

On Tuesday, May 1, local community members, fishers, environmentalists, farmers and families will gather to send a mayday for the Coorong all the way to Canberra. The rally will take place at Sugars Beach, Hindmarsh Island, from 10.30am.

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