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Greens cautiously welcome MDB agreement

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 27 Mar 2008

The Australian Greens cautiously welcomed the announcement today that Victoria would sign on to a new Murray Darling Basin agreement.
"This is important progress towards getting a basin-wide approach," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Creating a new independent water management body could be a crucial step forward in tackling our water sharing problems in the basin, but it is absolutely crucial that we get the detail right," she said.

"The new Murray Darling Basin Authority needs to be truly independent of political interference to succeed - and have the teeth to make sure the basin plan is enforced."

"I am concerned that it sounds like the MDBA will merely be providing independent advice to the Water Minister Penny Wong - who will approve the plan and be responsible for setting the cap on water diversions," said Senator Siewert.

"We really need to be putting in place strong and independent water management institutions that can outlive changes in government and withstand the pressures of politics," she said.

"The new MDBA needs to be empowered to develop and implement the whole-of-basin plan as soon as possible, and existing water sharing plans will need to be brought into line straight away - not left in place until 2017," said Senator Siewert.

"We now have the opportunity to move forward. We need to be doing so sooner rather than later," she concluded.

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