Australia’s Salinity Crisis- what crisis?

30th May 2006

It’s an apocalyptic story of environmental disaster we all know so well. The Murray Darling basin is being poisoned by salt. Adelaide’s water supply is threatened, along with some of our most productive farmland — and our beautiful rivers are dying. It’s a frightening scenario. But is it true?

The Channel 9’s “Sunday” program aired a special presentation last weekend by reporter Ross Coulthart as he investigated the real threat posed by salinity — and found that things are going badly wrong in public science.

As Coulthart revealed, some of the claims being used to support calls for billions of dollars to be spent on fixing a “looming salinity crisis” are simply not true.

Salinity is a problem. But it seems nowhere as bad as we’ve been told by environmental groups, government departments and many in the media.

Claims that an area of land twice the size of Tasmania is under threat are false. The reality is a fraction of that. Even top scientists now admit the predictions of a disaster have been exaggerated.

In Queensland, the now infamous Vegetation Managment Act 1999 and Water Act 2000 were based on the premise of preventing the spread of salinity and the declining water quality in the Queensland Environment.

The findings of  Ross Coultart are quite alarming and every Australian should be concerned at the corruption of science and its impacts upon the Australian enviroment.

To access a transcript for the special presentation click here.

Other useful information:

Murray Darling Basin Commission’s report
To see the latest Murray Darling Basin Commission’s official position on salinity issues within the Murray Darling Basin, go to this report on the MDBC website:

Australian Conservation Foundation
To read the Australian Conservation Foundation’s position on the salinity levels in the Murray River, this press release, entitled Money Flowing but Murray Still dying puts the ACF’s most recent position:

Government research
View the Australian Government salinity research funding body Land and Water Australia’s research papers on salinity:

A different view

To read the dissident views of Dr Brian Tunstall and Rob Gourlay on what they say is the real cause of dryland salinity, go to: ERIC — the Environmental Research and Information Consortium’s website:


Dr Jennifer Marohasy
Find out more about the research done by Institute of Public Affairs Environmental Scientist Dr Jennifer Marohasy:

To learn more about Gulgong farmer Colin Seis’ use of pasture-cropping to successfully grow crops on his saline-affected farmland, visit:

The ecoplough
To read more about the ideas of Pyramid Hill farmer Ross Hercott and the plough he has developed to combat salinity, go to: