The Greens have called for an urgent moratorium on water barons and non-water users buying up water while the Murray-Darling Basin remains in crisis and farmers and communities fear more mass fish-deaths this summer.
“The crisis facing the Murray-Darling requires urgent and immediate action, before more family farms and our environment hit the wall. The government must shut down the exploitation of the River by water barons and big corporate irrigators,” Greens Spokesperson for the Water Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today.
“Summer is looming and if the Government doesn’t act we will see more mass fish-deaths and more family farms in crisis. No longer is this a debate about farmers versus the environment, it is the big corporates versus everyone else – family farms, river communities and the environment.
“Water Minister David Littleproud must act to reign in the unconscionable conduct in the water market and immediately impose a moratorium on water trading by non-water uses. With less water available in the system due to drought and climate change it is also time for a moratorium on new permanent plantings, while an independent audit of all water licences is conducted.
“Our river is in crisis, small family farms are suffering and a growing number of River communities don’t even have clean water to drink. The Minister says he can’t make it rain, so there’s nothing he can do. This is a total cop-out; there is plenty the Minster can do, and he must act now. Failing to crack down on those exploiting the water market or harvesting flood-plain water upstream will make the crisis facing the River and farmers worse.
“The Government can’t even tell us who owns water licences. Lack of transparency is allowing big corporations to run amok with our water. An audit of licence ownership and trading must be conducted to shine a light on these investors playing with the future of our Rivers.
“The Murray-Darling is our nation’s food-bowl, and without a healthy river system our farms can’t survive. There are no jobs on a dead River.”