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Greens move for inquiry to get Coorong a drink before Christmas.

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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Greens move for inquiry to get Coorong a drink before Christmas

The Australian Greens will today take the first step to saving the Coorong and lower lakes, instigating an urgent Senate inquiry aimed at releasing enough water down the river before Christmas, Greens Senator for South Australia, Sarah Hanson-Young said today.

Senator Hanson-Young will move the motion, co-sponsored by independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, on behalf of the Greens today and it will be voted upon tomorrow.

"Australians want to see a unified national effort to save the Coorong wetlands and the Murray River’s lower lakes. The water is there, all that's missing is the political will," Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Australians care deeply for the environment, and it is simply unacceptable to sit by and watch the internationally significant wetlands die. The government must act within a matter of months to prevent the death of the Coorong and the Greens' Senate inquiry is designed to help the Government take action as rapidly as possible."

Senator Hanson-Young said the urgent Senate inquiry would report by September 30, and would identify how much water was available in the system, how the Federal Government could obtain it, how it could be transported down the river, and any barriers to making it happen.

“We cannot continue to sit by while hundreds of gigalitres of life-saving water is removed in Queensland and Victoria in particular, without proper oversight or control by the Federal Government.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens would be focusing on five areas of particular concern:

ù Accelerating the water buyback by spending more of the $3 billion now, allocating some of the $6 billion for infrastructure to water buy-back, and by lifting the 4% trading cap. ù Accelerating the production of a basin plan. ù Immediately implementing the cap on sustainable extractions and bringing all

water sharing plans into line with the cap immediately (not in 2019, as is the current COAG plan). ù An immediate audit of water in storage to determine what could be released to save the Coorong, what is needed for critical human use, and how to best

manage transmission losses. ù Amending the Water Act 2007 to fix a number of impediments to saving the Murray River, including allowing compulsory acquisition.

For more information: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

Gemma Clark Adviser Media and Communications Office of Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Senator for South Australia

Ground floor, Telstra Building 30 Pirie St Adelaide SA 5000

Ph: (08) 8231 9911 | Mob: 0427 604 760