Parliament passes breakthrough Murray-Darling law with Greens improvements


Today the federal Parliament has passed a breakthrough law to protect the Murray-Darling Basin, with the Greens securing significant improvements for the environment, integrity and First Nations water rights.

As part of the improved Restoring Our Rivers Bill the Greens have secured:

  • 450 gigalitres of water guaranteed for the environment & South Australia

  • An independent Water Integrity Audit to stop water theft and rorting; 

  • $100m for Aboriginal Water Entitlements and First Nations unique connection to Country recognised in the Act 

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens spokesperson for Water & the Environment, and Manager of Business for the Greens in the Senate:

“Today is a great day for the environment and more than 2.3 million Australians who depend on the Murray-Darling for our drinking water and our food. The Greens have significantly improved the Restoring Our Rivers law. Now, our rivers and communities have a fighting chance as we head into El Niño and a hotter, drier period.

“Critically, the Greens have secured a guarantee in law that South Australia will get the 450GL of water needed to protect the River Murray, including the Coorong, lower-lakes and Murray mouth.

“The Greens secured a water integrity audit to stop water theft and restore trust in the Murray-Darling plan after a decade of mismanagement from vested interests.

“The Greens secured $100m for First Nations cultural flows and the Aboriginal Water Entitlements Program. Further, for the first time, the unique connection First Nations people have to the river system will be recognised in the objects of the Water Act.

“For too long corporate greed and over-extraction has put our rivers at risk, but there are no jobs on a dead river. This breakthrough agreement will help protect the river system from water shortages, mass fish kills, and environmental degradation. 

“I want to thank the Government and my fellow crossbenchers for working constructively to improve this bill.”