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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

15 February 2006

New study on adapting to climate change in the Murray-Darling Basin


New funding for research in the Murray-Darling Basin will help us understand and respond to the impacts of climate change in the region, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

Welcoming today’s announcement of the $7 million South East Australia Climate programme funding, Senator Campbell said the Murray-Darling Basin was an area of critical national importance.

“The Murray-Darling Basin accounts for 40 per cent of Australia’s agricultural production and is a vital source of drinking water for Adelaide and other communities. It is the home to internationally renowned wetlands supporting many varieties of Australian native plant and animals,” Senator Campbell said.

“The whole Basin is flagged as a national priority for planning to adapt to climate change in the Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability report I released last year. This study is a practical step in providing information to help land and water managers respond to the effects of climate change – for example, reduced amounts of available water.”

“We need to better understand how climate change is affecting the Basin today and how to make clearer projections of climate change in the future. Greater certainty about water availability is important for farmers, local communities and the environment.

“To substantially increase our knowledge of climate change and help buffer us against the impacts of climate change, the funding will bring together leading Australian climate scientists from the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, along with land and water managers from the region.”

The South-East Australia Climate project combines investment from the Department of the Environment and Heritage, the Murray Darling Basin Commission, Land and Water Australia, and the Victorian Department of Sustainability and the Environment.

“This project is another example of the Australian Government’s commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin,” Senator Campbell said.

“I have worked tirelessly to improve the health of the River Murray and will continue to manage this important ecosystem.”

This research initiative adds to more than $1 billion Australian Government funding already provided to make the Murray River a healthy working river and the Murray-Darling Basin a sustainable productive centre for agriculture and its local communities.

Other programmes underway to breathe new life into the River Murray include the Living Murray initiative to improve environmental water flows to internationally significant wetlands, and funding to save red gum forests and floodplains stressed by the long drought.

Media Contact:
Marianne McCabe 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

Commonwealth of Australia