MEDIA RELEASE: 17th July, 2013: Australian Democrats release Murray Darling Basin policy

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MEDIA RELEASE: 17th July, 2013:

Australian Democrats release Murray Darling Basin policy

The Australian Democrats have released their newly-balloted policy on the Murray-Darling Basin in preparation for the forthcoming Federal election.

Central to the policy is recognition that a viable river system requires an understanding of the impacts of climate change and population growth, says lead Senate candidate in South Australia, Ms Jeanie Walker.

“If we are to keep this precious river system flowing we must recognise that predicted temperature increases of between 2.5 and 6 degrees would result in a reduction of flow of between 16 and 48% by the turn of the century.

“This will have significant impact on the irrigation industry, with greater efficiencies being demanded, and we support more money being provided to deliver those efficiencies.

“It might also mean that more irrigators will need to exit the industry, and it is a significant aspect of our policy that we should assist those irrigators wishing to do so to exit from the industry with just compensation and dignity.

“Given that 3.5 million people either live in the basin or live nearby and are directly dependent on it, Australia’s fast-growing population will add further pressures to an increasingly stressed system.

“While a significant proportion of food produced in the Basin is exported, food production will most likely have to concentrate on producing food for Australians.

“At the same time we strongly support the environment having its own fair entitlement to water based on independent peer-reviewed science. If the environment misses out the rivers in the basin will progressively die.

“So many Australians are dependent on this river, for their lives and their livelihoods. We must treat it with the utmost care,” concluded Ms Walker.

[A full copy of the policy is available on request from Ms Walker]

Further comment:

Jeanie Walker

Lead Senate candidate for South Australia

Phone: 0427 076 336

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