The NSW Water Minister has committed his government to spending $25 million to investigate the merits of the 'Bradfield Scheme' to divert Queensland rivers inland. Minister Barilaro has estimated the scheme might cost $10-15 billion to establish.
Conservative Party South Australian Senate candidate Rikki Lambert says Minister Barilaro's NSW commitment today adopts a key part of the broader vision he outlined 3 weeks ago for drought-proofing Australia.
Mr Lambert says the state and federal governments should follow NSW and the Conservatives, running a continuous drought-proofing brief that reports to parliament on the cost of schemes like the Bradfield, Clarence River and similar nation-building water projects.
"The federal government should be investigating the best estimated price of the Bradfield Scheme (which the NSW water minister has estimated will cost $10-15billion)," Mr Lambert said, "But also the Clarence River Scheme and others, not only to deliver floodwaters inland to the Murray-Darling Basin, Lake Eyre or elsewhere - but as flood mitigation in dams to prevent catastrophes as we have just seen in Townsville."
"South Australia should join the investigations that NSW has committed to, with the federal government, to maintain a rolling watch on the economics of further drought-proofing Australia."
"In addition, the federal Royal Commission the Conservative Party have been calling for into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan should also include as a term of reference the best way to keep a concerted focus on diverting more water into the system."
"It is a constant frustration that the debate about the Basin Plan is pessimistic when the River system itself that we have today is due to the drought-proofing initiative of governments that built the Hume and Dartmouth Dams, the Snowy Hydro scheme and re-engineered the Menindee Lakes. Those same nationbuilders would be slapping us to our senses to see what we could achieve with today's money, but due largely to the Greens, we're banned from discussing dams and river diversions."
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