“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





29 November 2011




Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of a taskforce to co-ordinate South Australia’s response to the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“The taskforce will include Ministers Paul Caica, John Rau, Jack Snelling, Gail Gago and Patrick Conlon as well as senior officials across government agencies, including Department for Water chief executive Scott Ashby, Chief Scientist Don Bursill and Under-Treasurer Brett Rowse,” Mr Weatherill said.

“It will consider the plan’s implications for the South Australian environment, producers and regional communities, which are concerns of all South Australians.

“The taskforce will co-ordinate the scientific and ecological analysis of the plan and consider South Australia’s legal rights in relation to this matter.”

State Cabinet today discussed the release overnight of the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“We are having our experts conduct an initial analysis of the plan and I expect to be in a position to make further remarks about it later in the week,” Mr Weatherill said.

On December 5, the State Government will convene a meeting of experts and representatives of a number of groups interested in the health of the river to discuss the plan.

“City and country, irrigators and environmentalists, upper and lower reaches of the river all share a number of similar concerns - so there is a strong basis for a united SA position on the plan,” Mr Weatherill said.

“South Australia took early action to protect the river putting in place a self-imposed cap in 1969, while upstream States continued to over allocate water.

“South Australia takes just 7 per cent of the river’s water, while upstream States take 93 per cent.”

Minister for Water and the River Murray Paul Caica said the State Government has made it clear that South Australia’s past responsible behaviour and the efficient practices adopted by South Australian irrigators have to be reflected within the Basin Plan.

“We will only accept a Basin Plan that returns this most important river system to an appropriate level of health, including environmental sites such as the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth and the Chowilla flood plain in the Riverland,” Mr Caica said.

“We have concerns that 2750GL will not be enough to restore the system to health,” Mr Caica said.

“We are also concerned that it does not adequately recognise our irrigators’ efficient use of water and responsible management of the river compared to the upstream states.

“It is essential that we hold the MDBA to account and make sure they meet their obligations under the Water Act 2007 through the proposals put forward in this draft Plan.”

Mr Weatherill said the State Government will use the next 20 weeks to analyse the plan, harness collective views, and utilise the best scientific expertise that this State has to offer in preparing a submission.

“As the State at the end of the system, all South Australians are aware of the devastating impacts of over allocation and we have been a case study of what other Basin states could face in the future if this is not adequately addressed through the final Basin Plan,’’ Mr Weatherill said.

Mr Caica said he would hold meetings with representatives of environmental, irrigation, industry, cultural and community interests along the length of South Australia’s River Murray. These meetings will begin ahead of Christmas with further meetings next year.

(This is the complete unaltered text of the new South Australian Premier's press statement.)

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