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Warning bells on the Murray did not go unheeded - Greens

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 Aug 2008

"The environmental destruction of the Coorong is a tragedy that did not need to happen," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The drastic decline of these internationally significant wetlands could have been prevented if either of our Environment Ministers had acted in a timely and sensible fashion."

A 2006 report on the dire state of the Coorong did not go unheeded by the Senate, which backed the Greens in calling for an urgent review of the management of Australia's 64 Ramsar listed wetlands.

Senator Rachel Siewert spoke at length at the time on the particular threats to the Coorong, the Gwydir and the Macquarie Marshes, and has continued to pursue both the Howard and Rudd Governments in Senate Estimates over when this review would be completed and the results made public.

"By failing to act, former Ministers Ian Campbell and Malcolm Turnbull and our current Environment Minister, Peter Garrett have all failed in their responsibilities to the international community, to the Australian people and to the environment," she said.

"The Coorong and these other critically threatened wetlands could have been Montreaux listed, and the Commonwealth's powers under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act evoked to ensure environmental water was delivered," concluded Senator Siewert.

The Greens are calling on Peter Garrett to act immediately to secure water for the Coorong, to report on the findings to date of the Ramsar review, and to release details of the health, management and recovery plans for our threatened Ramsar wetlands.

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