The Federal Government has to stand by the water reforms that authorities have identified as the minimum necessary to save the Murray-Darling Basin, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on the Murray-Darling Basin, says decades of over-allocation have made it necessary for everyone - particularly by the Federal Government - to show the will to achieve real water reform and return water to the river system.
"One thing is clear from the guide to the Basin Plan released last week - we have to reform the way we use water in the Basin and we can't do it in a half-hearted way,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"We need a commitment to return the 4000GL that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has told us is the bare minimum required to save the river.
"We hope that the parliamentary inquiry which has been announced this week will not simply be the Federal Government's get-out clause, paving the way for a backdown on this critical water reform.
"The information in the guide released last week has naturally caused concern in some communities, but the way to respond to these concerns is to identify the investment and support communities need to transition to a new era of doing more with less water, not to weaken or jettison the changes we know are vital for the Murray-Darling's survival.''
The Greens have consistently called for a truly independent authority that can implement necessary reforms.
"The guide to the Basin Plan shows this is now even more important than ever - there is no more margin for error,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"The Authority has said in the guide that if the goal was simply to save the river, then we would have to be putting in up to 7600GL to eliminate any risk of failure.
"The 4000GL option is a compromise that already takes into account social and economic costs. If we are going to save the Murray-Darling Basin not just for 10 years but for 100 years, then we must commit to taking tough decisions, backed up by the appropriate support and investment to make reform work.
"This commitment has to start with the Federal Government.''