David Littlepround must push back National Carp Control Plan's December 2018 deadline

Day one: Tony Pasin, Christopher Pyne, Brenton Lewis and Anne Ruston converse by the River Murray at Murray Bridge after announcing the National Carp Control Plan on May 1, 2016. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Day one: Tony Pasin, Christopher Pyne, Brenton Lewis and Anne Ruston converse by the River Murray at Murray Bridge after announcing the National Carp Control Plan on May 1, 2016. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Visual arts studies was the most challenging subject this columnist took in year 12.

Maths, physics, English and history all had their low points, but visual arts was a slog, hours spent demonstrating a process, getting a graphic design idea past a teacher who wanted something "arty".

I was fortunate to make it to Flinders University, where I majored in English and minored in politics and French.

After a couple of years spent in casual jobs – stacking shelves, mopping floors, supervising bouncy castles – I went back and studied journalism, which set me on the path to writing this column.

What I'm saying is: I'm not an environmental expert.

Even after six years at The Standard, I can only comprehend a fraction of all there is to know about the River Murray, just enough to make sense of what's going on and communicate it to you, our lovely readers.

But even with my level of expertise, a basic problem seems apparent with the national carp control plan.

A draft plan is due in July.

But the research looking into all the questions around the proposed release of a carp herpes virus will continue.

The outcomes of that research will be incorporated into a final version of the plan, after the public consultation phase has finished, then presented directly to state and federal governments for approval.

Here's the cart ... and here’s the horse.

This is not a shot at carpinator Matt Barwick, who is attacking a near-impossible task with energy and rigour.

It is a criticism of the timeline, which seemed generous when it was first set in 2016 – by Christopher Pyne, here in Murray Bridge – but is beginning to feel like a rush.

People cannot buy into a controversial idea if they feel they have not had their say, or have not been informed enough to do so.

We have seen it locally with the Sixth Street upgrade and a development plan amendment at Monarto South, and we risk seeing it at a federal scale later this year.

A decision about such a permanent change to our nation's most influentual ecosystem cannot be made unless all the information is on the table.

Perhaps a December deadline would fit the current electoral cycle.

But surely federal Agriculture and Environment Minister David Littleproud must consider pushing it back, for all our sakes.

Peri Strathearn

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