The listing of the Murray River as a threatened ecological community may be overturned, with Environment Minister Greg Hunt undertaking a review of the listing process.

In the last days of the previous Labor government, then environment minister Mark Butler approved adding the "River Murray and associated wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems, from the junction of the Darling River to the sea" and the "Wetlands and inner floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes" to Australia's list of threatened ecological communities.

The listings were nominated by the Australian branch of Humane Society International in 2008.

The former government's independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee considered the nomination, and opened it to interested parties for their views.

The committee's final recommendation – that they be included on the threatened list as "critically endangered" – was adopted by Mr Butler in August.

However the listings angered the National Irrigators Council. Its chief executive, Tom Chesson, says the organisation was never consulted about the listings.

"At no stage were irrigators consulted about these listings," he said last week, writing for ABC Environment.

"Ministers and various federal Government departments, including the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), were invited. Academics and green groups came to the table.

"But it seems that irrigators and our communities were overlooked."

New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said she also was not consulted about the listings.

According to environment law in Australia, Mr Butler's decision to include the Murray River on the threatened list may be overturned within 15 parliamentary sitting days.

Since the Murray was listed as a threatened ecological community in August, the Government has changed.

The Government now has the numbers in the Lower House for the listings to be overturned, should they chose to do so. Parliament sits for the first time since the listing on November 12.

Mr Hunt hinted that change may be coming, and a spokesman for the Minister said: "We are currently reviewing the adequacy of the consultation process carried out by the previous government."

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment, Simon Birmingham, told the ABC's Bush Telegraph program earlier this month that the Government is "looking very closely at this listing". 

"We...want to make sure that we take the time to listen to the views of all the stakeholders, talk to them carefully about their concerns and the issues here and then Minister Hunt and I will have a chat and a decision and recommendation will be put forward to the Government from there," he said.

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