Murray River

At the moment, we’re all spending a lot of time debating gay marriage and climate change. Meanwhile, other issues aren’t being debated as vigorously as they might be.

Anyone heard much about this river lately? Pic: Kelly Barnes.

Today The Punch team has each selected two issues which get us hot under the collar, and which we feel deserve more airplay.

What are your thoughts on the issues we’ve chosen? And what other issues do you think we should all be talking about?

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  • Taylor Jay says:

    07:59pm | 22/05/12

    If Magic Johnson has had AIDS for over 20 years, he must have spent most of it in hospital. AIDS itself is more an umbrella term for several different criteria that a patient may meet in regards to the progression of their HIV infection; usually signifying a highly advanced stage,… Read more »

  • LC says:

    05:46pm | 22/05/12

    As for the possible solution proposed by ThePunch’s team “Insurance companies are severe on drivers under 25. Their premiums are often double that of older drivers. Maybe the penalties should be twice as hard for under-25s too.” This does more harm than good. The through-the-roof premiums for newer, SAFER cars… Read more »


After a wetter than average year in the Murray-Darling Basin many people seem to think the problems of Australia’s most important river system are solved. They’re not.

Cod knows a strong Basin Plan is needed to balance environmental and economic interests. Pic: AFP

Rain and floods have returned life to many parts of the river system, but if they are to provide more than a temporary boost before the next drought hits, our federal Parliament will need to sign off on a strong Murray-Darling Basin Plan this year.

When I say a strong plan, I mean a plan that results in a river not poisoned by salt, that flows, that is alive. Anything less threatens the future of the river and regional communities, not to mention Adelaide’s drinking water. For too long we’ve been taking too much water out of the river – much of it for irrigated agriculture – for the system to remain healthy.

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  • Ray says:

    04:57pm | 14/02/12

    The best way to have a strong flow in the lower Murray is to remove the barriers that are built across the river in its lower reaches. Environmentalists should realise that the Murray system would reduce to a trickle for over 99% of the time if it had no storage… Read more »

  • tim says:

    04:11pm | 14/02/12

    and then google moron, April Fools Day and you will land on the same planet as @John Read more »


The Murray-Darling Basin Authority Draft Plan, released yesterday, includes a reduction in water use of 2,750 gigalitres per year, compared to 2009 baseline diversions. So there will now be extra 2,750 GL/y in environmental flows. Does this give the right balance?

This Murray Cod is clearly unimpressed with the draft plan

The candidates for the biggest loser are (1) the irrigators, (2) the Basin communities and (3) the environment.

The extra environmental flow is estimated to lead to a reduction in irrigated agricultural production of about 11%. But the irrigators won’t be the big losers because they will be compensated by the water buyback scheme.

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  • Rick with a silent P says:

    02:22pm | 29/11/11

    Yeh that’s the best place for Vic’s….....underwater! Read more »

  • palone says:

    02:12pm | 29/11/11

    Peter, I think that you cut the above diatribe from a report on John Howard’s Government and put it away for when Labor came to office, and now you send it in whatever the topic. Didn’t you make that very same comment when Australia got kicked out of the World… Read more »


As far as political slogans go, “No Dams” had an absolute simplicity about it which resonated with the vast majority of Australians.

The receding shore of Lake Alexandrina. Photo: Adelaide Now

Despite the localised concerns of Tasmanians, some sympathy from blue-collar mainland communities reliant on industries such as logging, and the arcane constitutional quibbles of a few States’ rights enthusiasts, most Australians happily bought the clear message conveyed by the bright yellow triangular bumper sticker.

The Franklin River was saved. The year was 1983. Twenty-seven years on and it’s obvious that while “No Dams” might have worked as an effective call to arms, “Save the Murray” is struggling to get beyond being an empty slogan as the nation remains paralysed as to how we should save it.

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  • Peter Oataway, Hay, NSW says:

    11:18am | 27/10/10

    @Alice C ..when you try supporting water to a city of over 1 million people located in a spot with less than 450mm annual rainfall (Adelaide) you deserve to pay a levy.. Read more »

  • AliceC says:

    08:42am | 19/10/10

    @Peter, Yes, just about eveyone pays a water bill, but only people in SA pay a levy on top of their normal water bill. The levy is over and above the normal access charge and usage price. Read more »


Later this year the South Australian Government is likely to announce the introduction of a weir at Wellington. 

Weir not worthy: The site of the proposed project

This is effectively a dam across Australia’s greatest river before it flows into the Lower Lakes in South Australia. 

It would allow the Government to pump sea water into the Lower Lakes, a system that has been a fresh water environment for thousands of years – this is a decision that will be irreversible.

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  • Jeff from Meroo says:

    09:05pm | 18/06/09

    Paul is 100% right.  Moving water from Qld to SA is not worth it.  It would be cheaper to move the farmers to Qld to grow food there instead. One idea the farmers (in the Mildura area anyway) dream about is flooding Lake Eyre.  Someone looked into it and figured… Read more »

  • Wayne says:

    12:08pm | 18/06/09

    There will be a weir built at Wellington. The road to the proposed weir site has been upgraded to handle the increased traffic once the building of the weir commences. We need more talk and no action. Read more »


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