Academics at odds
Lefty economist John Quiggin, leader of the "Risk and Sustainable Management Group at the University of Queensland" deems that the controversial management plan for the Murray-Darling "did mostly get it right":
A solution to the environmental, economic and social problems of the Murray Darling Basin is within our reach.Wrong, says water expert John Briscoe:
Australia's performance on reforming the Murray-Darling Basin has been savaged by one of the world's top water experts, who says the process is flawed by political deception and opportunism.According to Quiggin, a failure to properly communicate the provisions of the management plan is the real problem. Or perhaps Bricoe is right in claiming that environmental concerns were given too high a priority.
Harvard University professor John Briscoe - a former senior water adviser for the World Bank - has urged Australia to dump the work done on the plan and start again with a new act of parliament.
His comments follow months of controversy over whether the Water Act of 2007 had forced the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to prepare a reform plan that favoured the environment over social and economic concerns.
In a statement to a Senate inquiry, Professor Briscoe said there was no doubt the Water Act gave priority to the environment, and claims to the contrary were ''poppycock''.