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February 08, 2018

Duck shooting issue will not go away

GOOD to see other landowners and residents are sick of the duck shooting season and seeking a response from Mr Walsh, the Member for Murray Plains.

I also have had his deaf ears disregard my concerns.

But this issue will not go away.

People on farms and landholders near waterways are sick of the bully tactics, the vandalism, the trespassing and the slaughter.

This year there are new laws so let’s see how many dead native water birds are discarded, dumped and left to rot.

Nature-based tourism is a far better investment for our communities than wasting our taxpayer money on providing environmental water for duck shooters to slaughter our native water birds.

If only the shooters would kill feral animals and help the country.

Tuesday Browell

Torrumbarry

Transport options not good enough

DEAR Minister Jacinta,

I write to you on behalf of my constituent Mr Graeme Wilson of Tongala.

Mr Wilson is an 80-year-old pensioner who does not have a vehicle of his own and has difficulty walking any distances.

He therefore relies on the V/Line bus service to travel from his home in Tongala to his major shopping and medical centre, Echuca.

On arrival in Echuca he is faced with a number of different appointments which are spread across the city.

The only transport option available to him is the taxi service which costs $10-$13 each trip up to $110 a day.

This is clearly not sustainable on his age pensions and as a sensible solution he purchased an electric bicycle.

His bicycle weighs a total of 23kg and it folds in half.

The battery can be taken out at the moment of loading and can be carried separately to ensure it adheres to the V/Line rule of maximum of 30kn. Two items per person.

To his great disappointment however he now finds that V/Line staff will not allow him to carry the bicycle in the under storage department on the bus.

Mr Wilson argues that when a train is substituted by a bus the bicycle can be carried by that bus. The same buses can carry four and three wheel electric scooters. He is unable to afford a scooter and he feels that he is being discriminated against by V/Line.

The ability to take the bicycle on the V/Line bus would dramatically improve Mr Wilson’s life in many ways and I ask for your favourable consideration of an exemption in his case.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Walsh MP

Member for Murray Plains

You can travel with your bike

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following the report in the Riverine Herald, Mr Wilson received the below response from V/Line. Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has also voiced his opinion (see above).

DEAR Mr Wilson,

Thank you for your feedback regarding the carriage of your folding electric bike on V/Line coach services.

I can confirm you are able to travel with your bike on our coach services under the following conditions:

■Coach Drivers may request the bike is folded before being stowed in the luggage bins

■You are not required to have the bike packed in a bag

■You will remove the battery from the bike and pack it in your backpack

If you have any issues when travelling with us, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Hannah

Customer Relations Officer

Time to do what’s right

SOUTH Australian Premier Jay Weatherill recently said he was “fighting for what’s right”, and I agree with his sentiments. It is time we all started not only “fighting for what’s right” but also “doing what’s right”.

Mr Weatherill was commenting directly on the South Australian Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which needs to be more far-reaching than protecting South Australia’s interests, which the SA Premier proposes.

He seems to have forgotten that this was a plan developed by four states and the Federal Government to protect the entire Murray-Darling Basin, not specifically South Australia’s water supply.

Mr Weatherill is also a bit loose with the facts when he says 3200 gigaltres has been “secured to deliver a healthy Murray-Darling Basin”. In fact, 2750GL was secured, and his government support the legislation that this would only be recovered if there were no adverse socio-economic impacts across the Basin.

Now that we have unequivocal proof there will be socio-economic damage if there are attempts to recover the additional 450GL, Mr Weatherill is trying to use his government’s political clout to have this vital part of the legislation ignored. Is that “fighting for what’s right”?

It is past time that South Australia accepted this is a four-state basin plan, not a South Australian plan. As part of its Royal Commission it needs to investigate recommendations of the 2016 report from a Senate Inquiry into the basin plan, in particular those relating to South Australia, as follows:

■The SA Government evaluate the effect of purchasing irrigation water while declining to use its desalination plant.

■A cost: benefit analysis of the SA barrages including removing them all, removing some or modifications, and if the analysis indicates one or more lead to positive social, economic and environmental outcomes then the basin plan be amended accordingly.

■Calculate the economic value of fresh water evaporated from the Lower Lakes.

■Undertake a detailed study to inform whether a reassessment of the Coorong’s Ramsar listing from a freshwater system to an estuarine system is more appropriate.

■Investigate construction of an additional lock above Lake Alexandrina, such as near Wellington, SA.

Remember, these were recommendations from a detailed Senate Inquiry that investigated ways to implement a basin plan that could deliver social, economic and environmental benefits across the entire basin.

They should be back on the table at the next meeting of the Basin’s Ministerial Council, with the federal and other state governments demanding immediate action.

One also has to question why the supposedly independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority is also not strongly articulating the view that these recommendations should be actioned as a matter of urgency.

That, I believe, would be “fighting for what’s right”. As a consequence I trust all these issues will be part of the SA Government’s Basin Plan Royal Commission, and ongoing Basin Plan discussions.

Shelley Scoullar

Deniliquin

‘Basin plan is an achievement Australia should be proud of’

THE basin plan is working, but a century of damage cannot be repaired overnight.

It is with great concern that I have seen reports of calls to halt the implementation of the basin plan.

This would risk returning the future of our nation’s most important water resource, and the communities and industries that rely on it, to a state of uncertainty and peril.

The Murray–Darling Basin Plan is visionary, long-term policy—and it’s working.

So far basin plan water infrastructure efficiency programs have recovered more than 700 GL of water for the environment. These are genuine water savings transferred to the Commonwealth in the form of water entitlements.

That’s more than 2100 GL of water that will be delivered back to the environment every year, on average — and is equivalent to more than 4 times the volume of Sydney Harbour.

The basin plan was neither expected nor intended to deliver immediate results. It is simply not possible to repair 100 years of damage to such a vast river system overnight — or even within five years.

That is why the basin plan is a long-term plan, the benefits of which will continue to accrue over the next 50 to 100 years.

However, we are seeing what we hoped for at this stage of the plan—good early signs that if we continue with the plan we will see significant, lasting and system-wide benefits.

As the current debate about the future of the plan rages, I urge people to remember what’s at stake, and to reflect on the beginnings of the plan, the reason it came into being, and the revolutionary change it represented.

The plan was borne of an urgent need to save our nation’s most iconic and important river system.

It was agreed by hard-won consensus among all basin governments and the Commonwealth.

The basin plan is an achievement Australia should be proud of. Other countries look to our nation as having some of the best and most successful water management policies in the world.

Implementing the plan is not easy and not without challenges — however, it remains our nation’s best pathway for securing the future of this vital shared resource.

Basin plan limits on water take become legally binding in mid-2019. I believe to abandon the plan now, before there has been a chance to realise the full extent of its benefits, would be a disaster.

We must stay the course.

Phillip Glyde

Chief executive

Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

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