Will there be Peace and Prosperity along the Murray-Darling?

The Federal Parliament’s Committee on the Murray Darling, which is chaired by Tony Windsor, has been making good progress in achieving a bipartisan consensus on the future of the farming industry in the region as indicated by their recent report to the Gillard Government.

Additionally, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, led by Craig Knowles, seems to be fostering far better relationships with the community than was achieved by its previous leaders. There is now a real chance that a solution to the region’s current water problems can be achieved if the Government and Opposition don’t turn it into an opportunity to have yet another slanging match.

They should note that many of the issues currently under consideration will reappear in the decades ahead as more droughts occur from time to time. Eventually, the issue of having more water flowing permanently into the river system will have to be faced and action taken.

It is common knowledge that new water can be introduced at moderate cost, and it will be cheaper to do it now rather than pointlessly procrastinate for yet another decade.

What is also important to note is that the same action to send more water into the Darling can also be used to keep Lake Eyre permanently flooded, thereby changing the climate, livability and economic capacity of Central Australia.

An interesting footnote is that the Windsor Committee has raised the issue of miners using and contaminating water in the Murray Darling Basin. Their comments cannot be ignored.