HSI applauds EPBC Act listing of Murray Darling Basin ecological communities
Humane Society International (HSI) congratulates Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler MP on the recent listings of ‘River Murray and associated wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems, from the junction of the Darling River to the sea’ and ‘Wetlands and inner floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes’ as critically endangered ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
“HSI welcomes this landmark occasion of the first listings of riverine systems as threatened ecological communities under the EPBC Act. These listings are pioneering examples of aquatic ecosystem conservation. Importantly, they complement the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) and will assist in guiding major expenditure for water recovery and regeneration projects expected in the area,” said HSI’s Director Michael Kennedy.
Taking a whole of system approach to provide the connectivity essential to protect and improve the ecological functioning and health of these nationally iconic ecosystems, their listing under the EPBC Act complements the implementation of the MDBP under the Water Act. Being primarily concerned with water allocation and restoring environmental flows, the Water Act alone would be insufficient to deal with broad landscape issues related to environmental protection and management, and the key ecological factor of the connectivity of the entire system is not addressed. Thus, the unified approach of these processes is required to safeguard the critically endangered ecological communities’ health.
Mr Kennedy concluded: “These listings are a result of HSI nomination’s from 2008, both of which have been subject to many years of rigorous scientific analysis and stakeholder consultation. HSI firmly believes that the listings will result in strong conservation outcomes for the benefit of all stakeholders. The Minister’s decision represents best practice scientific conservation action, which will provide proper guidance to landholders and potential access to further management resources.”