New research from The Australia Institute shows that South Australians overwhelmingly want a Commonwealth Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan (73%) and believe that irrigation businesses in the Darling Basin should not be allowed to draw water when mass fish kills and drinking water shortages are occurring downstream (84%).
The research also reveals that South Australians have much more negative perceptions than their interstate counterparts when it comes to the current and future health of the Murray Darling Basin and are more aware of problems within the system, such as the mass fish kill and allegations of large-scale water theft.
“South Australians know that the Murray Darling Basin is in crisis and they want the government to take action,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA projects manager.
“The continual demise of the Murray River has been heartbreaking for the South Australian community and this research shows that people are fed up.”
Over three-quarters (77%) of South Australians said the current health of the river system is poor or very poor, 22 percentage points higher than Australians overall (55%). South Australians were also less likely to think rules were well enforced or that water is shared fairly between states.
“The Murray Darling Basin Plan has been in place for years, with billions of tax payer dollars having been spent, but South Australians are still deeply pessimistic about the current and future health of the system,” Mr Schultz-Byard said.
“As the end stream users of the system, South Australians have known for decades that the Murray Darling Basin was in serious trouble.
“These rivers are the lifeblood of the nation and this research has shown that many people across the country hold a dim view of how they are being managed and protected.”
A polling brief, including detailed results, is available here