By Peter Hannam
An unsolicited modification of licences for irrigators on the Macquarie River has allowed water earmarked for protecting one of the most important wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin to be diverted for a cotton crop.
When a lawyer of the standing of Bret Walker SC uses language such as “maladministration”, “unlawful”, “gross negligence” and “indefensible” to describe the conduct of a statutory authority, it’s understandable that it attracts attention.
Dec 25, 2018
“A fraud on the environment” is how lawyers for the Royal Commission framed it. Cronyism, cover-ups, deception, secrecy, scientists “leaned on”. The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission report is to be handed down in little over a month and the outcome, for Australia’s water authorities, will not be pretty. Triskele reports – in a tragi-comedy in three acts – on the extraordinary events surrounding Australia’s most critical inland water system.
By environment reporter Nick Kilvert
The sight of more than a million fish floating belly up on the Darling River at Menindee has thrown doubt over the management of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Experts say irrigators are taking too much water from the system, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has mismanaged water flows.
But New South Wales Water Minister Niall Blair says drought is to blame.
“A million native fish have been killed in the Murray Darling Basin. Drought is the catalyst, but the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin Plan is the cause.”
EDO NSW, on behalf of its client the Inland Rivers Network, has commenced civil enforcement proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court in relation to allegations of unlawful water pumping by a large-scale irrigator on the Barwon-Darling River.
This case is listed for hearing on 30 November 2018.