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Murray-Darling Reform Needs Real Leadership From Government

The Australian Greens are disappointed at the resignation of Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Mike Taylor, but are even more disappointed at the lack of leadership from the Federal Government in standing by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on the Murray-Darling Basin, says the Federal Government is trying to give the false impression that there is some easy solution to the crisis in the river system.

"The Federal Government has said it wants to see water reform in the Basin, but if that reform is not going to return the water to the river system to ensure its survival, then what is the point?'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"Unless the Government is prepared to drive necessary reform, to stand up for the river, it's not going to happen. The Authority has made clear that there's a minimum of 4000GL needed to have any chance of saving the system, and that if we want a guarantee of survival, we need to look at 7600GL.

"We can't get away with business as usual in the Murray-Darling any longer. There is no such thing as easy reform, we can't duck the tough decisions - we need to put the water back, because the stark truth is that there will be no jobs, or viable communities, in a dead river.

"Mr Taylor's statement of resignation today highlights the long-held concerns the Greens have had, that the Authority has never really been given the opportunity to be independent of political interference.

"The Authority needs to be truly independent, with the powers to take necessary decisions without being stymied by state vetoes and the arguments of bickering politicians.

"The first step that is needed from the Gillard Government is a commitment to the figures that the Authority have put together, a commitment to ensuring the river system's survival, not a half-baked model that focuses on political compromise but leaves the Murray-Darling to die a slow death.''

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