Reports that cotton irrigators were allowed to pump water meant for the environment, during a drought, further evidences the plan designed to save the nation’s most important river system has fundamentally failed, the Greens say.
“We know the environment has not been getting what it needs because of corporate cotton, corruption and climate change. If cotton can legally be irrigated with environmental water then the system is wrong,” Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“It is appalling that cotton is irrigated with water meant for the environment while communities have no clean water to drink or bathe in and parts of the Basin are in ecological collapse. We know not enough water was ever going back to the environment after the science was ignored during the formation of the $13 billion plan to revive the River. It cannot afford to lose a drop.
“We’ve seen scathing reports from the South Australian Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission about the health of the river. We’ve had scandal after scandal reported in the media for years, and yet, profit continues to be put before people and the environment.
“We need a federal Royal Commission, and for the environment to be put back at the centre of the the Plan if the River is to have a fighting chance.”