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Government must allocate flows for the Coorong.



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Wednesday 17 September 2008

Government must allocate flows for the Coorong

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has said an allocation for the river itself must be prioritised in order to save the lower lakes and Coorong, following improvement in the water volume available in South Australia.

South Australian Minister for the River Karlene Maywald announced this week that SA irrigation allocations would increase from six per cent to 11 per cent from October 1.

“But where is the allocation for the environment?” asked Senator Hanson-Young.

“When is Labor going to realise that they must prioritise the environmental needs of the lower lakes and Coorong?

“Our Storm Boy country is at crisis point, because the environment hasn’t been given its fair share of river flows.”

Senator Hanson-Young reiterated the need for a risk assessment to be carried out before any government contemplated flooding the lower lakes with saltwater. Saltwater flooding has been presented as an option by both the Federal and South

Australian Water Ministers.

“In response to my call for a risk assessment of saltwater flooding, Minister Wong’s office has passed the buck to the South Australian Government, saying it’s a task for them,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Well, I don’t care who carries the risk assessment out - I just want to know when it will happen.

“No Minister should be promoting this as a solution without all the facts.

“The Greens in the meantime will continue to campaign for the freshwater flows that the lower lakes need.”

Senator Hanson-Young said that finding ecologically sound solutions to the lower Murray crisis and putting them in place must be a priority for the Federal Government.

“The detrimental effects of letting the Coorong fade into history and losing our internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands will reach far up the river system,” she said.

“We must allocate the lower Murray its fair share of freshwater flows, and give it the drink it so desperately needs.”