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Health of communities relies on health of river.

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Thursday 18 September 2008

Health of communities relies on health of river

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the health of the struggling communities along the Murray depends upon the health of the river, which needs its own allocation for environmental flows.

“We know the communities along the river are struggling, and they must be supported,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“If we don’t look after the river, these communities will not survive.

“The only hope for struggling communities along the river is to know the long -term sustainability of the river and lakes upon which they rely is a priority for our governments.

“We must strike a balance to ensure the health of the river and the health of our communities are both sustainable.”

Senator Hanson-Young is calling for an urgent allocation to be set aside for environmental flows.

“The river needs its fair share of water too,” she said.

“We know we need more freshwater returned to the lower lakes and the Coorong.

“The lakes are the lungs of the river system. Without healthy lungs, the river will die.”

Senator Hanson-Young also said she would like to see the shortlist of options for Lakes Alexandrina and Albert that has been presented to Water Minister Penny Wong by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in its final report.

“The Greens would like to see what those options are, and have that information fed into the current Senate Inquiry into the lower lakes and Coorong,” she said.

“We certainly hope that there are better options that the Minister is considering than the disastrous move of flooding the lower lakes with seawater.”

The Senate Inquiry into Water Management in the Lower Lakes and Coorong continues.

Next hearings:

Thursday 18 September, 4.30pm - 6.30pm, Parliament House CANBERRA Friday 19 September, 8.30am - 12.30pm, Parliament House CANBERRA Friday 26 September, 9am - 5pm, MELBOURNE

For more information: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760