May 2010

Riverina Red Gum Forests update

27.05.2010 - Posted by
Further to my post on 3.03.2010, the NSW Government has announced that further negotiations on the River Red Gums Reservations Bill has led to an amendment for immediate preservation of the Millewa Group of forests and an increased compensation package for structural adjustment and community development associated with cessation of logging (click here for the press release).

From July 1, the River Red Gums forests agreement will protect more than 100,000 ha of river red gum forests and woodlands in national parks, regional parks and Indigenous Protected Areas in the Riverina region of NSW.

The Bill follows recommendations made by the independent Natural Resources Commission (NRC) after their report in 2009 found that the forests were facing severe stress as a result of the combined effect of river regulation, the over-allocation of water and drought. With the latest amendment, the forests agreement now adopts all of the key recommendations made by the NRC.

Triple J goes down the Murray

19.05.2010 - Posted by Misko Ivezich
This week Triple J’s a current affairs show “Hack” is travelling through the Murray Darling Basin broadcasting from a different place each day. In the communities along the river system there’s an ongoing fight over who should get the water, and if you live in a river town you’ll know the river divides people but it can also bring them together. To hear these stories listen to Triple J at 5:30 pm weekdays, or you can listen on their website.

ACF adding water to Hattah Lakes

5.05.2010 - Posted by
Water purchased by the Australian Conservation Foundation for delivery to Hattah Lakes has just been released. This purchase was done through their Just Add Water campaign  – a campaign to purchase 200 million litres through public donations. They had huge support for the campaign and were able to purchase double the amount of water initially targeted.

Yesterday the water (400 million litres) started to be delivered to Hattah Lakes. Paul Sinclair (ACF Healthy ecosystems program manager) and Howard Jones (local irrigator) were interviewed on Bush Telegraph (ABC Radio National) and provide interesting insight to the long term water management challenges in the Murray Darling Basin. Have a listen here.

ACF has real time photos of the watering on their website. The images are being captured and transmitted remotely through solar powered cameras placed at Hattah Lakes. Would like to say watching the photos are more engaging than watching paint dry but hey, ecosystem response takes time!

2010 -11 Victorian State Budget

5.05.2010 - Posted by Kane Travis

Last night the 2010–11 Victorian State budget was handed down by the Treasurer, John Lenders. I was interested in finding out what it means for the environment and funding for the regional catchment management authorities and have had a closer look at the numbers.

The budget provides $20M to acquire 15,000ha of volcanic planes grassland, $3.4M work on an estate on Philip Island, and $6.4M to tackle weeds and pests. Another $18.8M is allocated to parks. Potentially some of the $6.4M for weed and pest management might find its way to the regional CMAs, but there does not appear to be much focus on rehabilitation of catchments and waterways.

In comparison there is high investment into policing ($561M), roads ($440M), health ($600M), and a range of more interesting smaller amounts such as $18M for new car parks, $26M to reduce women’s imprisonment, $17M for automated number plate recognition technology, and $3M for a new home for Circus Oz.

I think all of us who are committed to protecting the environment would feel a little disappointed with the focus and emphasis of the 2010-11 budget.