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Greens invite Ramsar Secretary General to tour Lower Lakes and Coorong.



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Sarah Hanson-Young

Greens invite Ramsar Secretary General to tour Lower Lakes and Coorong

Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young

Thursday 23rd July 2009, 10:32am

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has written to the Secretary General of the

Ramsar Convention, Mr Anada Tiega, to invite him to tour South Australia’s stricken

Lower Lakes later this year.

South Australia’s Coorong and Lower Lakes have been listed as wetlands of

international importance under the Ramsar Convention since November 1985, but

could face de-listing if their ecological degradation continues.

“The Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention deserves to see what decades of

over-extraction and mismanagement have done to these wetlands at the mouth of

the Murray,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for the lower

Murray.

“Our Lower Lakes and Coorong, which are precious to South Australians as well as

being internationally significant, are under threat of fading into history as freshwater

flows are diverted and weirs built to dam the lower Murray, relegating the wetlands to

become hypersaline swamps.

“The United Nations’ senior adviser on water, Maude Barlow, toured the Lower

Lakes recently and said she was ‘devastated’ by what she witnessed.

“I’m sure the Coorong and Lower Lakes communities would appreciate the

opportunity to share their own knowledge with international experts.

“I hope Mr Tiega takes up my invitation later this year.”

Ramsar Secretary General Anada Tiega is expected to visit Australia in October.

Senator Hanson-Young said findings on strategies to improve the health of the

Coorong released yesterday by a consortium of scientists again showed that there

are actions that could and should be taken now.

“All is not yet lost for the Coorong or the Lower Lakes,” she said.

“The Senate Inquiry I established last year into the Lower Lakes and Coorong put

forward recommendations that have been echoed by these scientists’ findings, such

as securing 300GL of fresh water environmental flows, and pumping hypersaline

water from the Coorong’s southern lagoon.

“However, moves are yet to be made to activate these realistic, achievable plans.

“What’s lacking is the political will - the Federal Government must act as a matter of

national importance.”