The Greens today responded to the release of the Federal Government's Water for the Future plan, raising concerns that the plan did not go far enough or move fast enough to make the changes to water use needed to save the Murray Darling system.
"After all the talk of a brave new approach I expected Penny Wong's plan would deliver real change to the system - not just more of the same," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Most of the plan is just a re-badging exercise, and the crucial changes needed - like ensuring sustainable water use as quickly as possible - simply aren't there."
"The Water for the (distant) Future plan will deliver far too slowly. In reality the Basin Plan doesn't start really changing water use practice until 2019 - when existing water sharing plans in Victoria have run their course," said Senator Siewert.
"Unfortunately this is locked in because of the deal done to get Victoria on board."
Senator Siewert claims that the plan is 'soft on the environment', pointing out that: "There is still no commitment from the Government about how much water is going back into the river or how the health of its ecosystems will be monitored and managed."
"It is foolish to rely so heavily on markets without first ensuring an allocation for the environment. If the health and survival of the river is dependent on the Environmental Water Holder having to go cap in hand to Government every year for funds and compete on the water market, then the environment will always lose out.
"We need to fix the system once and for all in a way that ensures the same old problems are not locked into place, and we need to act now to save the river - not some time in the distant future," concluded Senator Siewert.