Nats Knew About the Fish-Kill Risk in 2012!

Nats Knew About the Fish-Kill Risk in 2012!

News Release
Monday, January 14 2019


The NSW Liberal-Nationals were warned in confidential documents written in 2012 that their changes to water usage rules could cause significant damage to the Murray Darling and kill fish.

This revelation comes after an environmental catastrophe that has seen up to one million fish –some now say more – which have died on the Darling River. This fish kill stands as the largest in Australian history.

Opposition Leader Michael Daley today released advice from Fisheries NSW , obtained through freedom of information laws which raised the alarm in 2012 about what has occurred in the past two weeks.

Mr Daley has called on the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro to front the people of the Far West and everyone with concerns about water security and habitat. They must explain why their Government changed the rules in 2012 in contravention of their own expert advice and advice which said that the changing of the rules could threaten the ‘maintenance and recovery of the endangered aquatic ecological community of the Lower Darling Catchment.’

fish kill
Photo c/o ABC News

The warning by Fisheries NSW dated 8 March 2012 explicitly states that Silver Perch and Murray Cod would be at risk– two species of fish that washed up by the thousands in the mass fish kill.

Fisheries NSW said that “There appears to be no consideration of any scientific information on the impact of extraction or changes to the environment that have been detailed in the last decade.”

The warning by Fisheries NSW also said that aquatic life may not be able to recover during low flows.

Senior water bureaucrats have already told media that low flows contributed to last week’s mass fish kill.

In 2012 the NSW Liberal-National Government proposed changes to water rules on the Darling River with the 10 year “Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan”.

In March 2012 Fisheries NSW issued the warning that the proposed changes would harm fish:

“Fisheries NSW is concerned that the proposed 10 year draft plan does not include sufficient rules to secure environmental outcomes in low and medium flows that will ensure the maintenance and recovery of the endangered aquatic ecological community of the Lower Darling catchment.”

Despite these warnings in March 2012, six months later in October 2012 the Liberal-Nationals changed the water rules.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley

“I was stunned when I read this document.

“The people of NSW are owed a full and public explanation by the Liberals and Nationals. They were advised by experts that their rules changes could weaken this crucial river system.

“I am determined to get to the bottom of this scandal. A Labor Government’s first step will be a special commission of inquiry into water management on the Barwon Darling River System. It will have Royal Commission-like powers. I will overhaul the water rules where necessary.”


Download the source document here!

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