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Greens move to amend water bills to protect Basin Plan

Filed under: National |

The Australian Greens say they will move to cement the Federal Government’s 3,200 gigalitre target for the Basin Plan as the absolute minimum amount of water to be returned to the environment.

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Greens’ Murray Darling spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young, says the party will move to amend two Water Bills currently before Federal Parliament with the aim of guaranteeing the target figure.

“Currently we have a collection of promises and toothless legislation which only serves to further bank roll the big irrigators and fails to guarantee the minimum water needed to save the river system, but our amendments will change that,” Senator Hanson-Young says.

“Tony Burke has said 3,200GL is both doable and necessary, and the Greens’ amendments will guarantee it is actually delivered.”

Senator Hanson-Young says the government has been overhyping a Basin Plan which sets an aspirational target of 3,200GL to be returned in more than 10 years’ time, but doesn’t provide any guarantees for a water recovery target beyond 2,750GL.

She says that is not even taking into account the impact that increased groundwater extraction and climate change might have on environmental flows.

“Even if the Federal Government lives up to its word and reaches 3,200GL, this would still fail 17 out of 20 environmental targets set by the South Australian Government which, perplexingly, now openly supports the Plan.”

Senator Hanson-Young says the Greens simply want a strategy implemented that is based on the best available science.

“We are calling for a plan that recognises the advice of environmental experts and returns a minimum of 4,000GL to the Basin system because this is too important an opportunity for us to miss.”