Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 14 February 2012:
Murray-Darling Plan must be based on best available science not out of date data
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is relying on out of date data for its recommendations to take 2,750 gigalitres from productive use in the Murray-Darling Basin, said Senator Barnaby Joyce today.
“We are borrowing billions from overseas to buy water, which could put towns out of production, in the middle of a flood period. There must be something slightly incongruous about this, which at the very least requires the updating of models with easily accessible current information.
“It was revealed at Senate estimates today that the MDBA has calculated the average inflows into the Murray-Darling by taking a simple average from 114 years of data, from 1895 to 2009.
“There are lies, damn lies and statistics, or so said Disraeli, but it seems convenient that the dataset used to calibrate water in the Murray-Darling Basin begins and ends with Australia’s two biggest recorded droughts. The federation drought conveniently becomes one bookend of the statistics, and the recent millennium drought becomes the other. The other side of these two periods are some of the wettest times in Australia’s history, the one we are living through now and the one that included the 1891 floods.
“At least the figures should be current and include the most recent figures, as I continually hear this discussion about current changes to climate. The data must surely include the current rain events that have flooded my local town three times in the last two years, which we have all no doubt seen on the news.
“We are going to spend over $100 million just developing the Basin Plan which is not even based on up to date information.
“The government must update the figures.”
14 February 2012
Matthew Canavan – 0458 709 433