Draft Basin Plan will save miners but not rivers

MEDIA RELEASE28 November 2011

Greens MP and spokesperson for Murray Darling Jeremy Buckingham has blasted the Draft Murray Darling Basin Plan for failing to meet its key legal requirement to limit water take in the system to an environmentally sustainable level and for opening the door for the coal seam gas industry.

“This draft is far from the 4,000 to 7,600 gigalitres demanded by the science to stop environmental decline in the basin,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The plan has an obligation under the Federal Water Act to protect environmental assets and key ecosystem functions, but this draft will not achieve either.

“Ultimately our rural communities and agriculture are sustained by a healthy environment.  If we don’t provide the necessary environmental flows to the system, the long-term sustainability of rural communities in NSW will be compromised.

Mr Buckingham also questioned the increased ground water take that appears to have been directed towards mining and coal seam gas industry.

The plan allows 300 gigalitres per year to be extracted from deep aquifers in the Gunnedah-Moree area where there are plans for coal seam gas extraction.

“The large increase in ground water extraction under the draft plan, particularly in mining and coal seam gas areas,  is a major concern,” he said.

“A future coal seam gas industry seems to be built into this plan, yet the effects of de-watering these aquifers and the disposal of the large amounts of saline water extracted is unclear and potentially dangerous.

“The increase in ground water being made available for mining is a disgraceful outcome and yet another example of mining being prioritised over food security.”

Contact: Max Phillips 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916


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