State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has welcomed a review by CSIRO scientists on behalf of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority into South Australia’s Lower Lakes but has urged caution and says she wants to see the review’s terms of reference.
The issue of freshwater wastage in the Lower Lakes was central to a protest of thousands of farmers at Federal Parliament House two weeks ago.
“We have frequently pointed to Professor Gell’s peer-reviewed scientific claims that the Lower Lakes have been artificially made fresh when the evidence states they were formerly estaurine. This has resulted in hundreds of gigalitres of water being wasted each year in evaporation,” Ms Sheed said.
Ms Sheed noted the Lower Lakes review was yet another announcement in the wake of the successful protest in Canberra on December 2 and 3.
“There are obviously a lot of backroom discussions going on in the Liberal and National party and various other bodies following farmers, many from my electorate, making their voices loudly heard in Canberra,” Ms Sheed said.
“We’ve seen reactions from Minister Littleproud, from the National and Victorian farmers federations, from the Victorian and NSW state governments and now the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. It’s good that all these bodies are listening, but reactive platitudes are not the action we need.
“We’ve had scores of reviews over the years and we still have dead rivers, environmental damage, an opaque water market, and ridiculously high water prices with farmers leaving the industry in droves.
“Action is what is needed.”