Tim Storer Independent Senator for SA
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Menindie fish kill report – NSW must step up

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Unless the action taken in response to the Vertessy report on the Menindie fish kill improves river flows it will do nothing to alleviate South Australia’s vulnerability to unsustainable upstream behaviour.

It is all well and good for the Federal government to accept 10 of the report’s recommendations, but of the 27 recommendations in total almost all are directed at New South Wales and out of Canberra’s control to implement and enforce.

If NSW cannot clean up its act, the Federal government should take charge to safeguard the sustainability of this national resource.

Around $7bn has been spent, with another $4.5bn allocated under the Murray Darling
Basin Plan.

If that cannot get the job done, the $70m announced today amounts to little more than a drop in what’s left of the water.

NSW should not be getting $25m to subsidise a quarter of the cost of updating meters in New South Wales when, for example, SA has up to 90% metering. This should be entirely the responsibility of the NSW government.

Why should the funds of taxpayers around the country subsidise NSW’s failure to get its act together?

$20m to fund research into improving water and environment management is welcome, but does not provide a solution on its own.

The $5m allocated for the installation of cameras so the public can view river flows is more of a PR exercise than a genuine step towards greater transparency.

The money would be better spent on satellite imagery to determine illegal take from the river as well as large scale floodplain harvesting.

$10 million dollars to restock rivers and lakes with native fish species solves the symptom not the cause.

It is time for NSW to live up to its responsibilities under the Murray Darling Basin Plan rather than forcing other states to suffer as a result of the mess it has exacerbated.