The Australian Greens today outlined the benefits of the Senate Inquiry into the Coorong and Lower Lakes, at the final hearing of its first stage in Canberra today.
"We need every level of Government to urgently refocus on saving the Murray-Darling Basin. This will require a comprehensive plan for reducing water use by half, whilst accelerating water buy-back and re-adjustment of river communities," said Senator Rachel Siewert.
"Evidence given to the Inquiry has revealed that what is now needed is 60 gigalitres between now and September 2009. This is a much easier amount to find that what was previously thought."
"It was clear from today's evidence that we must now do the science of water availability in the northern basin and fix the problems with water interception, so that we can be prepared for the possibility of good rainfall next summer."
"It's very distressing to hear there are still some land users with their heads in the sand about the drier future of the basin. We need change now to deal with this massive crisis," said Senator Siewert.
"South Australia's Lower Lakes and the Coorong must not be simply considered collateral damage to a system that has been mismanaged over decades," said Senator Hanson-Young.
"We have already lost 80% of our wetlands across the system. How much more are we prepared to trade off?"
"We are all legitimate users, and it is time we started sharing what water we do have more fairly. This includes giving the river its fair share. We need a healthy river to ensure water users and their communities are sustainable."
"We have to now move from talk to action, and the taskforce moved for in the Senate by the Greens earlier this week would be able to spearhead the swift, decisive action needed to stop the lakes and Coorong fading into history... and address the need for long-term sustainability for all in the basin," concluded Senator Hanson-Young.
Senator Siewert - Tim Norton 0418 401 180 Senator Hanson-Young - Gemma Clark 0427 604 760