​Media Release

Littleproud welcomes appointments to fish death panel

5 February 2019

  • Review chair Prof Rob Vertessy has chosen his team to review fish deaths in the Darling River
  • Panel to consult broadly with scientists and Basin community members
  • Interim report into fish deaths due by 20 February 2019

Federal Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud has welcomed news Prof Robert Vertessy has chosen five prominent water scientists to join him on an independent panel assessing fish-deaths in the Darling River over summer.

Professor Vertessy, a distinguished water scientist from the University of Melbourne and also former head of the Bureau of Meteorology and former CSIRO scientist, will lead the panel.

He will be joined by Professor Nick Bond, the Director of the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems at LaTrobe University, Professor Fran Sheldon, Professor of Environment and Science at Griffith University, Associate Professor Simon Mitrovic from the University of Technology in Sydney, hydrologist Daren Barma, and freshwater fish ecologist Dr Lee Baumgartner from Charles Sturt University.

"Prof Vertessy has chosen his team independently," Minister Littleproud said.

"All panel members are all highly-respected experts with experience in a range of fields, including water quality, fish ecology and river management.

"The independent panel will work with government agencies, experts and local residents from the Lower Darling, including local Aboriginal elders. A genuine independent assessment takes time and will not be rushed."

Minister Littleproud said the panel will prepare a preliminary report and recommendations by 20 February this year, with a final report by 31 March 2019.

The panel will assess water management, events and conditions ahead of the fish deaths, and will identify the likely causes and ways to avoid further incidents.

More information about the panel members, and the terms of reference, are available on https://www.mdba.gov.au/managing-water/drought-murray-darling-basin/fish-deaths-lower-darling/independent-assessment-fish.​