Common sense at last on Murray-Darling Basin Plan

May 08, 2018

Australian Conservatives are pleased to learn on Budget Morning that the Labor Party will join them in opposing the destructive Greens' disallowance of the 605 gigalitres in adjustments to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Speaking from Canberra where he is awaiting the Budget this evening, Senator Bernardi said Labor's decision to side with Conservatives and the Coalition government against the Greens was a victory of common sense.

"A lot of work has gone into the Basin Plan, and the Green's irresponsible, destructive approach fails to recognise the way the Basin Plan balances the environment, economic and social impacts of water recovery," Senator Bernardi said, "It is worth remembering this day, because the next Senate elections will be about installing senators who will still be there when the Basin Plan expires. What approach will they take to the next Basin plan - the destructive approach adopted by the Greens with this disallowance, or one that takes into account efficient environmental management and water use, and the future of river communities?"

The Basin Plan adjustments to 'sustainable diversion limits' were always part of the working mechanisms of the Plan, to ensure that benefits could be delivered with the minimum adverse impact on river communities. Were the disallowance to succeed, the Basin Plan would then require buyback from farmers - destroying more food production in the nation's foodbowl.

It is also being reported that the Labor Party have agreed to reverse their position on disallowing a 70 gigalitre adjustment in the Northern Basin, which senator Bernardi supported. Australian Conservatives had been on record as early as September 2017 with concerns about water theft in the Northern Basin and when the Disallowance vote occurred, Senator Bernardi made his reasons for that disallowance clear at the time, as outlined in the video below, and stands by his position.

Australian Conservatives are advised that unless the Senate agrees to rescind its previous vote on the matter, six months from the recent disallowance must pass until a vote on the Northern Basin can occur again. By that time, it is expected, various inquiries - including a Royal Commission - will have determined what wrongdoing should be prosecuted in the Northern Basin.

Previous reports of maladministration in New South Wales that came to light in March vindicated Australian Conservatives' position on the Northern Basin Disallowance. Senator Bernardi noted that Water Minister Littleproud had said those who had done the wrong thing on animal live exports 'would swing' - and urged the Minister to show the same bottle for those who have stolen water in the Northern Basin.

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