Catholic Earthcare chair and Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Chris Toohey says that it is urgent for Australians to get involved in addressing the degradation of the Murray-Darling basin.
The restoration of the health of the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Darling and other rivers of the Basin is one of the most urgent issues facing our country, Bishop Toohey said, The Catholic Weekly reports.
Bishop Toohey, who is also Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes, said this beautiful part of our country is becoming "degraded" and its rivers, wetlands and floodplains are in "poor condition".
"The rivers of the Murray-Darling basin bring life wherever they flow, from outback Queensland to the Murray mouth, from the Snowy Mountains to flat Mallee plains," he said.
"Bishops of the Murray-Darling basin acknowledge the enormous amount of community work already done in addressing the issues, but we believe that many more Australians need to become involved."
He added: "Bishops who live and work in the basin would like to add their voices in support of the rivers and all those working to save them, and reflect on the Murray-Darling basin from the perspective of Christian faith.
"We see its life giving waters as a precious gift of God for the common good. We see human beings as responsible before God for the well being of the river system.
"We are called to live more sustainably and grow in ecological wisdom and practice, so that the generations to follow inherit a healthy and bountiful basin as intended by God."
The Federal Government has dramatically stepped up efforts to save the dying lakes at the mouth of Australia's biggest river system, agreeing to buy up water hoarding properties and send the water downstream.
Federal Cabinet has agreed to a suite of new measures in a last gasp bid to save the Murray-Darling's lower lakes from turning into acid or being flooded with seawater.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Government would try to buy out "appropriately located irrigation properties".
Mr Rudd said he was trying to save the lower lakes but warned it 'might not be possible'.
"I don't want to say there is a magic solution here," he said.
"I am trying to turn around a situation which has evolved over many, many years ... and we are dealing with the real consequences of climate change."
Bishops’ plea for Murray-Darling (Catholic Weekly, 24/8/08)