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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Page: 7238


Senator SIEWERT (8:03 PM) —by leave—I move Greens amendments (1) to (11) on sheet 5646:

(1)    Schedule 2, page 288 (after line 23), after item 22, insert:

22A  Subsection 4(1) (definition of long-term average sustainable diversion limits)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(2)    Schedule 2, page 294 (after line 2), after item 50, insert:

50A  Subsection 22(1) (table item 4, column 3)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limits”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limits”.

50B  Subsection 22(1) (table item 6, column 2)

Omit “long-term annual average quantities”, substitute “long-term annual quantities”.

50C  Subsection 22(1) (table item 6, column 2)

Omit:

The averages are the long-term average sustainable diversion limits for the Basin water resources, and the water resources, or particular parts of the water resources, of the water resource plan area.

50D  Subsection 22(1) (table item 6, column 3)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

50E  Subsection 22(1) (table item 7, column 2)

Omit “long-term annual average quantities”, substitute “long-term annual quantities”.

50F  Subsection 22(1) (table item 7, column 2)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

50G  Subsection 22(1) (table item 7, column 2)

Omit:

The average is the temporary diversion provision for those water resources or that particular part.

The sum of:

(a) the long-term average sustainable diversion limit; and

(b) the temporary diversion provision;

for those water resources or that particular part is the long-term annual diversion limit for those water resources or that particular part.

50H  Subsection 22(1) (table item 8, column 2)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(3)    Schedule 2, page 294 (after line 6), after item 51, insert:

51A  Subsections 23(1) and (2)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

Note:                The heading to section 23 is altered by omitting “average”.

51B  Subsection 24(1)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

51C  Subsection 24(1)

Omit “long-term average quantity of water”, substitute “long-term quantity of water”.

51D  Subsections 24(6) and (7)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(4)    Schedule 2, page 301 (after line 14), after item 75, insert:

75A  Subsection 74(2)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(5)    Schedule 2, page 301 (after line 16), after item 76, insert:

76A  Subsection 74(4)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(6)    Schedule 2, page 302 (after line 17), after item 77, insert:

77A  Subsection 75(1)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

Note:                The heading to section 75 is altered by omitting “average”.

(7)    Schedule 2, page 303 (after line 2), after item 80, insert:

80A  Subsection 75(3)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(8)    Schedule 2, page 303 (after line 18), after item 82, insert:

82A  Subsection 75(4)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit” (twice occurring), substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(9)    Schedule 2, page 303 (after line 27), after item 83, insert:

83A  Section 76

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(10)  Schedule 2, page 303 (after line 31), after item 85, insert:

85A  Subsection 77(4)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

(11)  Schedule 2, page 303 (after line 33), after item 86, insert:

86A  Subsection 78(2)

Omit “long-term average limit”, substitute “long-term limit”.

86B  Paragraph 78(3)(a)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

86C Subparagraph 78(3)(a)(i)

Omit “long-term average limit”, substitute “long-term limit”.

86D  Subparagraph 78(3)(a)(ii)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

86E  Paragraph 81(1)(b)

Omit “long-term average sustainable diversion limit”, substitute “long-term sustainable diversion limit”.

These amendments relate to variability of annual flow and were specifically recommended during the Senate inquiry, again by Professor Mike Young. They relate specifically to the word ‘average’, which is used throughout the act. Professor Young said that, as experienced in recent years, averages can be extremely misleading, especially in episodic, event driven systems such as those found in the Darling system. He said that variability is often measured by dividing the flow range, the maximum and the minimum, by the mean annual flow and that, in the Murray, this results in a ratio of 15 to five, whilst in the Darling system the resultant ratio is 4,705 to two. The Darling River system is much more variable than the Murray River system, and Professor Young believes it would be a mistake for basin planners to simply add up averages derived from different parts of the system. The Basin Plan also needs to take into account that adverse climate change may occur.

Given these observations, he recommended that part 2 of the act be generalised by a series of recommendations, which is what we are trying to achieve—a much more realistic way of dealing with flows in the river than using averages. We believe it is a much more rigorous and scientific approach, particularly as we are moving into a period of climate variability and climate change where the science, particularly in the northern part of the basin, is saying that—I hate to say it—on a more regular basis we might see events similar to what we saw last summer that could significantly change the calculations if we do not move into using this particular system rather than just averages. We believe this is more realistic and will provide a better tool for the authority when they are developing the Basin Plan and management plans for the basin into the future. It provides us with a much more significant and rigorous tool as we try to adapt to climate change and deal with the increasing variability in flow. We need to factor in variability in the way that we manage the basin, and we believe this provides part of the tool set that we need.