Public debate about plans to revive the ailing Murray-Darling Basin river system has been dominated by concern about negative, short-term impacts, with little consideration of the long-term benefits of a healthy river system, according to a statement signed by 58 prominent environmental scientists.

Issued today, the statement says the costs of doing nothing would be unacceptable to everyone and that the recently released Guide to the Basin Plan by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority offered an historic opportunity to correct past mistakes.

The signatories include five UNSW academics from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre.

Spokesman Professor Richard Kingsford says that while public discussion of job losses and economic impacts is important, it is equally important to recognise that the scientific evidence for the poor ecological condition of rivers and wetlands in the Basin is unequivocal.

The statement also says the Guide does not make enough allowance for the likely impacts of climate change.

Read the full statement at the Faculty of Science newsroom.

Media contact:Bob Beale, Faculty of Science | 0411 705 435