Statement on the health of the Darling River

Published on 11 January 2019

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The Far Western Councils of NSW, their Mayors and/or representatives from Wentworth, Brewarrina, Bourke, Central Darling Shires and Broken Hill City Council, together with the Chief Executive of the Murray Darling Association, met via teleconference on Wednesday this week to discuss the dire state of the Barwon Darling River System.

The group agrees there is an urgent need to look at both short-term and long term strategies to improve the health of the river system and that can only be achieved by maintaining a consistency of flow.

This is a position backed by Mildura Rural City Council Deputy Mayor Jason Modica and Councillor for Environment and Farming Sustainability Anthony Cirillo.  

Care for our Murray Darling river system is a national issue, with water management structures and their current impact on the lower Darling evidencing the need for Municipal, State and Federal governments to work toward a solution to the over-development and supply issue immediately.

Support from Councillors Modica and Cirillo comes on the back of presentations to the South Australian Royal Commission into Water and the Productivity Commission's report.

The ongoing development of our region and the effects of over-allocation on all rivers in the Murray Darling Basin, coupled with the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline which draws 37 megalitres of water a day from the Murray for a town whose consumptive use is 10 megalitres, poses even more questions while bypassing the natural flows of the Darling River for agricultural use upstream.

Given Mildura is an integral part of the Murray Darling Basin, Councillors Modica and Cirillo are deeply concerned at the environmental destruction of the basin’s second largest river and its eventual effects on the Murray. They support the identification of the reasons for this negligence, seeking answers to these very serious questions posed by the ongoing degradation of the Darling River.

There needs to be a full Royal Commission at Federal level with full powers to investigate and call witnesses, including the power to subpoena past and present State and Federal government representatives at all levels.  

There is also a need to de-politicise this issue and bring it back to science, and that science needs to be explicit and indisputable. 

 

Deputy Mayor Councillor Jason Modica

Councillor Anthony Cirillo