Independent Lower Lakes review welcomed by Murray Darling Association

Moving forward: MDA Region 6 chair and Alexandrina councillor Melissa Rebbeck has welcomed the Lower Lakes Independent Science Review.
Moving forward: MDA Region 6 chair and Alexandrina councillor Melissa Rebbeck has welcomed the Lower Lakes Independent Science Review.

The widely-praised Lower Lakes Independent Science Review released in May, has been welcomed by Australia's peak body representing local government across the Murray-Darling Basin, the Murray Darling Association (MDA).

The report, which found the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth were freshwater ecosystems prior to European settlement has ended conjecture among some stakeholders and confirmed the need for the Goolwa barrages.

An MDA spokesperson said the review's findings affirmed a consistency in the scientific assumptions underpinning the Basin Plan.

"These findings should build confidence across the Basin that the hard work and reforms our communities have navigated to date are based on sound and consistent science," the spokesperson said.

"The MDA acknowledges the challenge ahead of reduced inflows and we recognise that this will mean greater challenges for all.

"The MDA is developing a framework for our communities to be climate ready. This pathway must consider not just the environmental values of the region but also the social, economic, and cultural values."

MDA Region 6 chair and Alexandrina councillor Melissa Rebbeck, said the report's findings spoke to the inevitable agricultural management challenges associated with a changing climate.

"The independent panel findings reaffirm that agricultural communities throughout the whole Basin, including ours, will need ongoing assistance to adapt to a future with less water," Ms Rebbeck said.

"State and federal governments must continue to work together to foster opportunities and incentives that support agriculture to both adapt to and mitigate climate change, and in addition, continue to invest in research, development and extension in this space.

"Growth in agricultural productivity can occur but not at the expense of a healthy river."

MDA's spokesperson said local communities and Traditional Owners must be involved at the centre of processes aimed at developing a framework of climate readiness.

"The findings of the Lower Lakes Independent Science Review also reaffirm that agricultural communities throughout the whole Basin, including ours, will need ongoing assistance to adapt to a warmer, dryer climate," said the spokesperson.

"State and federal governments must work in partnership with industry to invest in [research and development] to help the agricultural sector adjust to a hotter, drier, more variable climate.

"Agricultural productivity for the future and a healthy river system must go hand in hand."