Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Five-year assessment
Submissions received for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Five-year assessment inquiry.
|1||Doug Mackintosh||Australian Ag. exports are very necessary for our own food consumption and exports to help trade balancing. Water supply is vital ,and our immigration levels need to be substantially cut to allow water for this water to be used for the above reasons, not personal usage in domestic houses and restaurants in cities !!! The lowest common denomenator is water in this (much of the time)very dry continent !!!!|
|2||Kerry Tucker||Sirs The high level and wide ranging accusations of corruption that has been identified within the current and past governments water management practices, needs to be fully investigated. Will the past implications of wrong doings and favouritism to the benefit the irrigators involved in the cotton industry by public officials, including members of parliament, local government, and their paid advisors be independently investigated? The level of misinformation, changes to statistical information, and the influence of the cotton industry which benefits from these changes needs to be fully investigated. The fact that the current government is reluctant to get to the bottom of this perceived corruption, and is being forced and pushed into investigating corrupt activities is very alarming. When we have a river system that is reliant on flows, and this source is being adversely removed or vastly restricted due to over allocation, with perceived corrupt governmental intervention, questions on who is responsible need to be answered and delivered to those who are affected. The general consensus is that the majority of problems in particular to the lower Darling river system, is being caused by over generous water deals being struck in favour of the cotton industry with support of the government. What influence does donations from the cotton industry have on decisions made by government, and in particular the Nationals? Will the assessment be free from government influence, and the very high level of bias towards cotton, which has been evident in past assessments? Those who have the most to lose from this assessment are those south of the cotton growers who are losing jobs and their life's work, due to the decisions to gift and favour water allocation to big industry. If this assessment favours those that have been accused of favouritism, and been afforded rights which are deemed unjust by the guy on the street, you will confirm that corruption is now the norm.|
|3||Howard Jones||As a private person with many years experience in water management(both commercial&environmental),the Basin Plan has to succeed.The issues that need to be resolved for that to happen,are-1 Constraints management-Plan cannot work at floodlevels influenced by CWH releases.2 Compliance in Northern basin that is honest as the Southern basin has for 50years.3 Management of Menindee Lakes without NSW's need to obtain their savings there,instead of the 8th State's(Murrumbidgee's loss).4 Equitable share in managing flow for downstream assets from major tributaries.5 Assessment of SDL projects from Fish connectivity,and opportunity to develop future SDL's that meet broad river and floodplain health outcomes.|
|4||Griffith Business Chamber||Griffith Business Chamber strive for Griffith to Thrive & Grow. Griffith is the regional capital to the Western Riverina in South West NSW. We are the largest winemaking region in NSW & second in Australia only to The Barossa Valley. We are also the major growing district to nearly all Australia’s rice, a hugely expanding Cotton industry, Citrus, Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, chicken, prunes & much more. We are a resilient community with outstanding entrepreneurs investing heavily in job creating industries like the Casella family & Steggles Baiada group. Despite the significant expansion in these industries & others our Gross Regional Product for Griffith LGA has been on a consistent decline since The Basin Plan began. In 2010 our LGA GRP was $1571 billion dropping each year to the current record low of $1391 billion in 2016. Unfortunately this is even worse in the our neighboring areas & towns in The Western Riverina. The MDBA interim Socio Economic report on the Southern Basin shows that HAY LOST 28.6 per cent of its irrigation water to the basin plan & TOTAL workforce declined from 1,624 to 1,221 (24.8 per cent) AGRICULTURAL workforce decreased 41.9 per cent.EMPLOYMENT in irrigated production decreased 41.4 per cent (over half between 2001 and 2006). Benerembah LOST 8.2% of available water 305.1GL. TOTAL workforce declined 375 to 336(10.4%) AGRICULTURAL WORKFORCE Decreased 21.5% POPULATION Decreased from 516 to 493 persons (4.5%) between 2001 and 2016 Coleambally community LOST 7.9% of available water TOTAL WORKFORCE DECREASED 21% Decreased from 514 to 406 FTE (21%) between 2001 and 2016 We know factors like commodity prices, machinisation, $AUD & other influences are involved BUT NONE MORE than the stripping of Productive Water under The Basin Plan. We look forward to making a public submission at the Griffith Hearing April 13th 2018. Yours Sincerely, Paul Pierotti President Griffith Business Chamber|
|5||Robert Gillespie||The Darling River between Bourke NSW & Wentworth NSW along with the Menindee Lakes, one of the basins most important wetlands, are being sacrificed to accommodate large corporate irrigators in the northern basin. Rapid drawdowns of Menindee Lakes leave the lower Darling exposed to no flow events and potentially dry river beds, something that has not occurred from 1946 until 2003 but the Darling has many cease to flow events post 2003. Irrigation expansion in the northern basin, poor compliance with extraction rules & misguided management of the Menindee Lakes have no doubt caused this. FIX IT!|
|6||Gary Ellett||Considering the following : · Physics and environmental constraints trump artificial constructs such as financial economics and social identity. · Australia is historically an arid continent. · The downstream costs of water extraction are largely externalised, and require interventions such as the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Australia persists with a perverse pricing of water, in which lower rates are offered to high-use customers. Increasing the price of water with increased use would encourage water-saving practices. Currently, water gets cheaper the more is used, sending totally the wrong signal. Furthermore, discounts for high water use are unnecessary, because recipients already receive significant benefits just from being large. [Coincidentally, I stumbled upon an article making the above points, but more eloquently and with references: http://sydney.edu.au/environment-institute/blog/australia-allowing-cotton-industry-export-much-water/ ]|
|7||Gwydir Shire Council||Gwydir Shire Council is concerned that the Murray Darling Basin Plan has no mechanism established to address cold water pollution created by the way water is extracted from dams. It really makes a mockery of an environmental flow that actually causes damage to the environment. All dams within the basin need to be reviewed and funding put in place to correct this cold water pollution problem. The Copeton Dam is an extreme example of the damage caused to the Gwydir River through this problem.|
|8||Rosa Hillam||I would just like to make a short submission; we need to ensure that the MDB is protected for all Australians. The plan was put in place to ensure a balance of environmental and consumptive water and it seems that it is tipped more toward consumptive due to non compliance and undermining of NSW and Victoria, the MDBA does not seem to be diligent in the job. We cannot allow any SDL adjustments at this point as it seems that the packages are not hitting the requirements and need to address the 12 criteria suggested by the Wentworth Group. We also need to ensure that the 450gl of real water is protected. Water is finite and we need to remember this There is no real transparency, no proper monitoring, no consistency and WRP’s are not ready. There is no substantial acquittal process to my knowledge to assure us that the money handed out is doing what it should be. The cost of water is not consistent and Mining should not get whatever water they want and should not be getting it for free. Monitoring, meters pipe size and licences should be the same across all states with a transparent register accessible to everyone.|
|9||Sunset Strip Residents||Sunset Strip is a community of 134 homes situated on the northern parts of Menindee Lake. It is home to mainly retired Broken Hill mineworkers or those planning on retirement. Sunset Strip was the perfect oasis for retirement, a beautiful lake with an abundance of fish, yabbies, bird and plant life. This paradise is on the verge of collapse since the introduction of the MDBPlan and the ignorance and mismanagement by the NSW Gov. and MDBA. The Plan has not been inclusive of the Darling River or Menindee Lakes resulting in financial loss for businesses, farmers graziers and job losses caused by the closing of many agriculture properties including Webster cotton, Costa Group with table grapes along with producers of apples, stone fruit and citrus. The morale and mental health of the communities is of grave concern as many of the elderly people are at the stage where medical issues require constant care and nursing home accommodation. Real estate prices is at an all time low therefore making it impossible for these people to have this care. Tourist numbers are down with job losses in a busy industry as well as recreational money. The biggest disaster is the death of fish with the MLS being the largest fish breeding area in the MDB. No fish breeding means no fish in the Murray River 230 species of birds are found in the MLS with 230,000 visitations per year, including migratory birds from Alaska and Siberia. Consultation is when meetings are called and programs are to be implemented very little input by locals. No help or advice has been offered or given. The Basin Plan is a disaster for this area, their is no triple bottom line, at times no water for critical human needs and stock, we are treated like a third world area. Restore small and medium flows Nth Basin recovery at 450 g Slow releases from the MLS to benefit the Lower Darling and fish passage Darling River to be Independent ie Northern Basin, Darling River, Southern Basin Education of those within the MDBA|
|10||Western Murray Land Improvement Group||The Edward Wakool community is investigating the feasibility of establishing a Multidisciplinary Research and Education Centre or Co-operative Research Centre (termed CRC as the acronym for this submission) for the mid Murray town of Barham. The site is selected is a disused catholic school with infrastructure in very good condition. The idea is to decentralise research and education currently being done by Universities in major cities by having a co working space in the mid Murray delta area of the Edward Wakool system. This concept supports local employment rather than using the current model of fly in fly out workers doing MDBA / Commonwealth Environmental Water Office funded projects Research outcomes relating to environmental water use, floodplain management, cultural heritage and water associated connections from archaeological evidence as well as oral history would be used for education purposes for people in the region creating economic and social outcomes for the region. Currently research information is tied to lengthy, untimely reports that the general public is mostly unaware of, or do not have the capacity or time to disseminate information into a usable form. Scientists, generally from associated disciplines are made aware of research outcomes, however the general people most affected by the Basin Plan, the people living in the Murray Darling Basin are not. Nor do people from the city understand the interconnectedness between irrigated agriculture, and the environment. The CRC would seek to provide easily understood information for the public. The CRC type arrangement would build on the environmental management of the floodplain, and Federal Governments funding towards a world class efficient water delivery system creating employment to local engineers and scientists for international and national engineering based tourists and students. A mid Murray region CRC is perfectly positioned to take advantage of a geographic void for agriculture / nature base|
|11||Jim Inglis||Historically, the Murray Darling River system during drought experienced salty sea water incursions at least up as far as the Darling junction. This was recorded by Sturt in 1828 when he could not water his horses there. This proves that the river does not flow in drought therefore environmental flows are not natural or necessary during and approaching these periods. Observing this will assist farmers to survive during such difficult times as per the intention of the original development. People in the lower lakes should be prepared to replace fresh water with various degrees of salt water during these drought periods as has been the environmental procedure there for millions of years. Expecting the taxpayer to fund downstream, fresh water environmental flows in the river system during drought conditions is contrary to both environmental and economic logic and should be totally avoided.|
|12||Robert Hosking||This is a national disgrace to have water flowing out to sea in an effort to keep an estuarine lake fresh .Future generations will look back on decisions made by MDBA in amazement . Now is the time to look at the whole basin again with a view to the future|
|13||Nature Foundation SA||Nature Foundation SA strongly supports the findings of the Commission on the actions needed to ensure that implementation of the Basin Plan is effective. In particular, delivery of all elements of the Basin Plan need to be accelerated and tied to timelines with penalties for non-delivery. Constraints projects must be accelerated to allow more efficient delivery of environmental water. The delivery of environmental water must be secured and its status protected as equal to irrigation water. It is important that environmental water be available in-channel, on the floodplain, as well as for it to have protected flow to the lower lakes and Murray Mouth. In addition, environmental water must be accessible in both wet and dry years with decisions on environmental water delivery based on ecological needs and merit. We do not expect to return to pre-colonial times, however we need to be able to deliver environmental targets and priorities in a highly modified system. We are also concerned that the recommendation to review and possibly abolish the salt export target may have collateral impacts on flows to the end of the system, which are vital for delivery of environmental water and watering target sites throughout the southern Basin. Nature Foundation SA supports the call for coordinated evaluation and monitoring functions. This should include site monitoring at a local scale. Our current highest priority is watering black box regeneration triggered by the 2011 high level. We are not aware of any other watering projects targeting this regeneration event in SA, which represents the first broad-scale regeneration of black box since 1956 with a good chance of survival. It falls within the 1 in 10 year flood frequency guideline of the CEWO Black Box Framework. Any ‘outer’ black box communities higher on the floodplains are not likely to survive under the Basin Plan and predicted reduced flow regimes under climate change.|
I strongly support the findings of the Productivity Commission on the actions needed to ensure that implementation of the Basin Plan is effective. In particular, delivery of every part of the Basin Plan needs to be sped up and required to meet deadlines or suffer real penalties for non-delivery. The constraints projects are needed urgently so environmental water can get to target sites. Some additional recommendations are required to secure recovery of real environmental water and to protect its status as equal to irrigation water. This is after all, what the Murray Darling Basin Plan is all about; focusing on environmental protection of the river system, so that it can support the future social and economic needs of communities. There has been recent pressure not to use the full allocation of 100% of high security water for environmental watering projects to show ‘empathy’ for upstream holders of low security water with 0% allocation. This is not how irrigators with 100% allocation would behave, and neither should the environment. I am very concerned that the recommendation to review and possibly abolish the salt export target. Having a flowing river channel is particularly vital in South Australia, where there are the highest volumes of salt inflows. Flow is needed to flush excess salt from the system and to help maintain water quality. Flows are also vital to assist with the flushing of the Murray Mouth and to maintain health in the lower reaches of the system, including the Coorong and Lower Lakes. Any review of the salt target needs to take into account inter-linked effects on flows to the end of the system. I believe that there is a need for continued, coordinated evaluation and monitoring. We need to be able to continue to quantify the need for environmental watering and to be able to provide evidence-based outcomes. Your recommendations need to be taken up in full by the federal government to deliver a functioning Basin Plan which can deliver its targets.