Water and Murray Darling Basin
We know how crucial the Murray Darling Basin is for Australia’s food production and economy. We support reforms that will keep the system healthy all the way up from the Murray Mouth, wind back the over-allocation of water and restore precious ecosystems so they can keep sustaining Australia.
The Greens want to see reforms that will assist all Basin communities to build their jobs and economies and restore our internationally recognised wetlands and productive agricultural areas to good health. We recognise that this is one of the key reforms facing Australia over the next decade and we have to get it right.
We support the National Water Commission as an independent authority to oversee this process, and want to see all of their functions maintained. This includes the important work they have been carrying out in assessing the National Water Initiative, in particular on water reform related to mining. The Commission has been a strong voice for the protection of water from mining related activities.
We believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have the opportunity to participate in water catchment planning and management, and there should be no new large-scale dams on Australian rivers.
26 Nov 2008
I rise to speak on an extremely important issue facing Australia. We face one of the most complex and difficult social, economic and environmental crises ever in the Murray-Darling Basin. The basin is the food bowl of the nation, and there are many communities in the basin that are dependent on its water for their industries and their town supplies. The basin's ecosystems, including 17 Ramsar wetlands of international significance, are also highly threatened, and 80 to 90 per cent of its wetlands have already been lost as a result of overallocation and poor management.
25 Nov 2008
There are two fundamental problems with the current approach to reform in the Murray Darling Basin:
- Basin communities have not been part of the consultation and negotiation process for the new arrangements. The only key stakeholders from the Rudd Government's point of view have been the State Governments.
- Commonwealth investment in water buyback, infrastructure improvements and structural adjustment are being rolled out slowly in an ad hoc fashion, with no consideration for the social, economic, environmental or structural impacts of where water is bought, or irrigation infrastructure investments are located.
What we need is a targeted and integrated approach.
21 Nov 2008
Australian Greens water spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert has hit out at Government spending on the Murray Darling Basin crisis as being too slow and haphazard, labelling it today as an "uncoordinated trickle".
"The Government's attempts to tackle our water crisis are welcome, but they are going about it the wrong way," said Senator Siewert.
"There is a real problem with the approach of buying up water here and there without any plan about how this will impact on the sustainability of irrigation infrastructure and local communities."
13 Nov 2008
The Australian Greens today expressed concern about the Government's Commonwealth Water Act, saying there is a need for further work in the detail.
"The Greens are concerned that this legislation will not deliver the reform needed to solve the Murray-Darling water crisis," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
22 Oct 2008
The Australian Greens welcomed the release today of the ‘Wetlands for Our Future Report', saying that it should form the basis of a national wetlands rescue plan.
Senator Siewert called on the Rudd Government to move quickly to implement a national wetlands initiative, signalling that the Greens would bring forward amendments to make the necessary legislative changes.
"The Australian Government can immediately begin recovering water for threatened wetlands by accelerating water purchases and setting key targets and timelines for returning environmental water," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
17 Oct 2008
The Australian Greens today accused Water Minister, Penny Wong of being disingenuous in blaming the delay of national water legislation on the Greens.
"The fact of the matter is that Federal and State Governments have been slow to reach agreement, and slow to get legislation into our State and Federal Parliaments," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
17 Oct 2008
Senator Siewert» (Western Australia) asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 3 September 2008:
With reference to the findings of recent reports, such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's Water availability in the Murray: A report to the Australian Government from the CSIRO Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project , dated July 2008 and Water availability in the Goulburn-Broken: A report to the Australian Government from the CSIRO Murray-Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project , dated May 2008 and the report by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission Sustainable Rivers Audit: A report on the ecological health of rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, 2004-2007 , dated June 2008, which suggest that the impacts on the Goulburn and Murray systems of sending water to Melbourne may be much greater then initially thought: Will the Sugarloaf Pipeline proposal be reconsidered under section 78A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity 48 No. 27-4 September 2008 Conservation Act 1999 to assess its impact on the Ramsar-listed wetlands further down the river system and the migratory bird species which are protected by international conventions; if not, why not.
10 Oct 2008
The Greens' Senate Inquiry into water management in the Coorong and Lower Lakes has revealed that the iconic wetlands and lakes can be saved from collapse.
The Greens' and Senator Xenophon's minority report finds that, contrary to the Federal Government's pessimistic view, a total of 60 gigalitres of fresh water by September next year is all that's required
10 Oct 2008
Australia's iconic Coorong wetlands and the Murray River's Lower Lakes can be saved from collapse - according to a minority Senate report released today.
Australian Greens Senators Rachel Siewert (WA) and Sarah Hanson-Young (SA) today released a minority Senate report, with Senator Nick Xenophon (SA).
The report finds that, contrary to the Federal Government's pessimistic view, a total of 60 gigalitres of fresh water by September next year is all that's required to provide enough environmental flow to stop Lakes Alexandrina and Albert from drying up and acidifying in the short term.