RAMSAR obligations

The Coorong should be saved - not irrigation exports

The Lower Murray Lakes and Coorong area has been starved of water for so long that its life-supporting ecology is almost dead. Australia has failed dismally in its obligation to protect this iconic part of the world under RAMSAR wetland convention. We should have known for more than a decade of drought that the amount of water pumped out of the Murray Darling Basin for irrigation is completely unsustainable, and this is proving to be the case. Despite all the discussion on climate change and the Garnaut report, agriculture has been ignored. A large amount irrigated water goes to livestock and their crops. Australia is the world's second largest exporter of beef with exports to more than 100 countries across the globe. Ironically, despite Australia being one of the driest continents on the planet, we are one the world’s second largest exporter of red meat and livestock! According to Dairy Australia, the industry now sells over half its annual production in world markets. Annual exports in the order of 900,000 tonnes of processed dairy products are shipped to over 100 countries! Agriculture has contributed to our strong economy for many years, but these days are over. Like rats not leaving the ship until it is sinking, is profiteering from irrigation-based exports to continue until the last drop? We should ban the export of meat and dairy and other irrigated products, and make sure water says in Australia. We have a legal and ethical obligation to protect the critical needs of our own country's ecology and this should have priority over export profits.