Coutin’s Catch-up: Fish numbers on the decline in areas like Mendindee Lakes

There have been four fish death events in recent months in NSW; two in the Lower Darling, one in the Namoi and one in the Lachlan.
There have been four fish death events in recent months in NSW; two in the Lower Darling, one in the Namoi and one in the Lachlan.

Menindee fish kill

Readers would now be aware of the recent fish kill at Menindee Lakes. This is a concerning issue and I continue to monitor the situation closely.

I am advised that the deaths appear to be linked to the short spell of cooler weather before Christmas that caused algae to die. This meant the algae decomposed and the oxygen levels dropped, leaving fish populations very vulnerable.

Regrettably, some people would have us believe there is a single industry, or group, at fault for this unfortunate event.

I am troubled by the misinformation that is circulating by those looking to point the finger of blame.

To say one industry is at fault for issues predominantly resulting from factors out of our control, is ill-considered and unproductive.

It is also disappointing to see some from the other side of politics making political mileage out of this.

There have been four fish death events in recent months in NSW; two in the Lower Darling, one in the Namoi and one in the Lachlan.

The sad reality is that due to ongoing drought conditions, this will not be the last fish kill we have in NSW.

It is not possible to drought-proof the Murray-Darling Basin but the Basin Plan will go a long way to improve the system’s health so it can better recover from future drought events.

As the Chief Executive of the MDBA Phillip Glyde has stated, we need significant rain and inflows into the system to break the current drought conditions.

Supporting our veterans

There is still time to contribute to the report into Australia’s veteran support system, with submissions open until 11 February.

Australia’s veteran support system requires fundamental reform.

A draft report titled A Better Way to Support Veterans recommends substantial changes to the veteran support system, including a new independent Veteran Services Commission to oversee the performance of the system and other simplifications to the system as it currently stands.

We have many veterans, and families of veterans, in the Parkes electorate who deserve the best support possible.

If you would like to use this opportunity to have your say on support for veterans in our country, I would encourage you to read more at https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/veterans/draft

Sporting grants

Going for a bike ride is something I aim to do at least a few times weekly, and when I'm at home on the farm, physical activity is part of my every-day. Staying active leads to healthy and happy lives for us all.

That's why I am pleased that sporting organisations in my electorate can now apply for the Move It AUS - Participation Grant Program.

This exciting program will fund local sport and physical activity to get people moving more often, offering good outcomes for all involved.

These new grants will help to further boost participation and specifically target groups who are at risk of inactivity or not currently participating in enough physical activity.

Applications close February 18 visit www.sportaus.gov.au/participationgrants.