December 2011

Proposed Basin Plan out for comment

22.12.2011 - Posted by Rob Catchlove
On 28th November the Murray Darling Basin Authority released the ‘Proposed Basin Plan’.

There is a long history to this issue, but a recent summary is:
  • March 2008 - The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 was passed in Federal parliament (and corresponding legislation in relevant state and territory governments) stating that the MDBA be created and a Basin Plan be developed.
  • October 2010 – Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan released for comment
  • October 2010 – Parliamentary inquiry into Murray-Darling Basin Plan commenced 
  • January 2011 – Craig Knowles appointed Chair of MDBA
  • March 2011 – Parliamentary inquiry delivers its report into the Murray Darling Basin Plan
  • November 2011 – Proposed Basin Plan released.
The Proposed Basin Plan is open for comment for 20 weeks. After this period the MDBA will revise the Plan and release a final Basin Plan which then goes to Federal Parliament to be passed by both houses. There is an opportunity to provide submissions on the Proposed Basin Plan here – so if you have an opinion, now is the chance to put it forward. As an aside I think it is far more valuable (and far more likely to be considered), if you write your own submission rather than sign some kind of generic petition.

There is no doubt that this is a major national reform that affects hundreds of thousands of people, industries and towns across Australia. And while there is agreement that things need to change, exactly how, where and who pays is another story. Some key points that get overlooked in this debate are that there are no compulsory acquisition of water licences, water rights or property rights, and that the implementation of the Plan is stretched over decades rather than months.  This is about a long term transition.

If you are interested in the future of the Murray Darling Basin, its rivers, the communities, its ability to sustain healthy communities and economies in an environment affected by climate change, then I think you should make the effort to put your views forward.   Here is the link to put a submission in. 

A snapshot of pro bono engineering

20.12.2011 - Posted by James Fitzgerald
Engineers Without Borders Australia and Engineers Australia have launched the Snapshot of Pro Bono Engineering report to celebrate the Year of Humanitarian Engineering. 

The Year, and this report, has highlighted the power engineers and the industry have to make significant and lasting impacts on communities in need. Pro bono engineering provides opportunities for companies to make contributions to communities through the provision of engineering services at a significantly reduced, or no fee basis.

The great thing about this report is that it is the one the first efforts across the industry to encapsulate the work that people are doing in this area. Throughout the report there are various examples of how companies are getting involved. By examining different approaches to structuring pro bono engineering, the report is effectively a call to action for those people and companies who are yet to become engaged in the area.

Environmental flows to Jackson's Creek

16.12.2011 - Posted by Leonie Duncan
Right now the Jackson's Creek is getting the best drink it's had in 15 years, with an environmental flow release of 200 megalitres over 10 days on the back of recent heavy rains.

Jackson's Creek is part of the Maribyrnong system in Melbourne's west and was the subject of a recent evaluation by Alluvium for the environmental flows team at Melbourne Water.

Given how close to the brink much of the Jackson's aquatic life came at the height of the recent drought, it is great news that the waterway's health is receiving a boost this summer.

Link to media release