The Caring for our Country program is an ill-thought-out rush-job, more designed to quieten the unrest of regional communities and environment groups than to target the conservation and resource management needs of Australia's future.
The release of a report by the Auditor General's Office today foregrounds ongoing concerns with the lack of accountability for delivering outcomes of major environment and land care programs.
"We need to be able to clearly demonstrate that the large amounts of money spent on the National Heritage Trust (NHT) and the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) are achieving measurable land management and environmental outcomes," said Senator Siewert today.
The Australian Greens today congratulated the Australian Council of National Trust for their call for immediate action on the Murray Darling Basin, but said their targets are not sufficient.
Speaking from Adelaide, alongside Greens SA Senate candidate Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator Rachel Siewert said: "Inflows to the Murray Darling are at their lowest in 116 years, irrigation allocations are at an all time low, and we have even less water in storage this summer than last year."
"Australia is experiencing a water emergency, and nowhere are the problems as complex and as urgent then in the Murray Darling Basin."
Speaking today at the launch of the Australian Greens Murray Darling initiative in Adelaide, Senator Rachel Siewert said: "What is needed is nothing less than a change in the way we think about water, the way we coexist with the river, and the way we share this limited, precious resource."
The crisis facing the Murray Darling Basin has probably no more appropriate place to talk about it than Adelaide, given that Adelaide is at the end of the system and is obviously suffering the brunt of the crisis facing the Murray.
The big problem with the latest drought assistance package is that it lacks vision.
What we really need is a strategy to make the transition to a productive and sustainable agriculture in a changing and uncertain climate.
This means we need a better idea of what the projected impacts are for our agricultural regions and what the options are for improving the resilience of our farming systems and safely managing the risk of our farm enterprises.
The Greens have made additional comments to this report by the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport. While we do not disagree with the majority report-in fact, we agree with it-we do not believe that the recommendations go far enough. Based on the environmental, social and economic evidence presented to the committee it is quite clear that the Traveston dam is a white elephant, that it should not go ahead and that it is a giant waste of money. There is not a single doubt about that in my mind.