MDBA – independent authority or rubber stamp?
MEDIA RELEASE - 7th March 2011
News that neither the Federal Environment Minister nor the new Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority are willing to endorse current members of the MDBA board will come as no surprise to many Australians, according to a statement released by public water rights and environmental advocacy group, Fair Water Use (Australia):
“The Federal Government has clearly been backed into a corner by the partisan and occasionally outrageous behaviour of those who view water as a private commodity rather than an invaluable common resource which must be managed carefully for all Australians.
There is little doubt that the pressure tactics of maverick sections of the irrigation lobby, and corporate players increasingly investing in Australian water, have already precipitated the resignations of the previous Chair and one board member, both possessing a wealth of experience in environmental matters - and it is highly likely that more resignations will follow.
Over the last decade, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and its predecessor the Murray-Darling Basin Commission have been hamstrung by the National Water Initiative, which is promoting the privatisation of Australia's water: to the joy of speculators and the dismay of those who understand the need to promote wise and sustainable use of the nation's water.
There are serious concerns that we are witnessing the final stages of the shameful rebadging of the Authority from guardian of the Murray-Darling to a mere rubber stamp for politically expedient, cynical policies which will only promote continuation of the overexploitation of the nation’s most vital river system.
It is entirely unacceptable that Australians have been deprived of their democratic right to determine whether this country’s water is protected as a common good or treated as a commodity to be traded on global financial markets.”