Plan fails half Basin’s international wetlands

Friends of the Earth / Australian Conservation Foundation

media release 12 July 2012

The current version of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan fails to protect at least eight of the
Basin’s 16 internationally recognised wetlands, according to a report released today.

The Friends of the Earth report is released as parties to the Ramsar Convention on
Wetlands meet in Romania this week.

Friends of the Earth Campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker said he had sent the report to the
Ramsar Convention Secretariat for urgent consideration.

“Australia has an international responsibility to protect these globally significant wetlands
and the world deserves to know they are being put at great risk.

“It’s disgraceful that Australia would consider a plan that risks so many Ramsar listed
wetlands while the convention’s major meeting is taking place,” Mr Walker said.

Australian Conservation Foundation Healthy Rivers Campaigner Jonathan La Nauze said
healthy wetlands supported Basin communities.

“If maintained in a healthy state, the 16 Ramsar wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin
provide $2.1 billion to the economy each year through water filtration, provision of crop-
pollinating insects, flood mitigation and other services to industry and communities.

“The Basin Plan needs to provide enough water to reach wetlands so they can fulfil these
vital roles,” Mr La Nauze said.

ACF and FoE are calling on Minister Burke to require the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to
model the return of at least 4000 gigalitres of water to the river.

Wetlands at risk of losing their Ramsar status include:
• the Narran Lakes, in northern NSW
• Barmah-Millewa Forest, near Echuca on the NSW-Victorian border – the largest red
gum forest in the world
• the Coorong and Lower Lakes in South Australia – the largest Ramsar listed wetland
in the southern hemisphere.

Report available here.


Cam Walker, FoE Campaigns Coordinator, 0419 338 047
Jonathan La Nauze, ACF Healthy Rivers Campaigner, 0402 904 251