SOUTH Australians will unite in Canberra today to fight for a better plan to save the Murray River.
Fisherman Henry Jones, irrigator David Peake and environmentalist Don Henry will join a march to Parliament House, where they will present Water Minister Tony Burke with nearly 1000 South Australian submissions to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's draft plan for the river.
The Adelaide Advertiser invited all South Australian MPs to attend this morning's event on the lawns of Parliament House, as well as Mr Burke, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Coalition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Jones, a fourth-generation fisherman of the Lower Lakes and Coorong, said the MDBA's plan to return 2750 billion litres of water to the basin was not enough to save the ailing lower reaches of the system.
"I hope to get the environment back on the agenda," he said of his journey to Canberra. "We're worrying about social issues when the plan was meant to be designed to fix the system.
"It is getting really close to decision time and I want the very best for the river. I believe we need a little more water than they are promising. The environment where I live is on the point of collapse."
Mr Peake grows pistachios below Lock 1. In the recent drought he failed to produce a single nut for four consecutive financial years.
"We must have a plan," Mr Peake said. "We only have one chance of achieving this and it must be in place before the next federal election.
"I do not believe the proposed target of returning 2750 gigalitres to the environment is enough, but I am willing to compromise."
Mr Henry, the chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the MDBA had compromised too much with upstream irrigators, rather than listening to the science that underpinned a healthy river system.
"The current draft of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan fails the river, regional communities and our national interest," he said. "It simply doesn't do enough to halt the river's ongoing decline."
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said politicians had to recognise the MDBA's draft plan had dudded South Australia.
Public consultation on the draft plan ends on April 16. The authority then pens its final plan.
Read more at AdelaideNow