It would appear that the Morrison Government has chosen to abandon Murray-Darling Communities when an opportunity for leadership presented itself. That opportunity came in the form of the Water Act 2007 five year assessment of the implementation of the Basin Plan. This review was handed to the Government by the Productivity Commission in January 2019.
The Morrison Government’s response to the review, which was taken to the 9th August CoAG Meeting, was to kick the can down the road on the most challenging and potentially damaging aspects of the yet to be fully implemented Basin Plan. The SDL Adjustment Mechanisms, including the Efficiency Measures (the 450GL of Up-Water) and the Supply Measures (projects including the reconfiguration of the Menindee Lakes and Relaxation of Constraints) represent significant unmitigated risks for Basin Communities.
While the Government appears to have agreed with most of the recommendations in the review, a deeper analysis reveals little more than weasel words abrogating responsibility for the Basin Plan disaster.
The commentary from Water Minister David Littleproud that the Basin Plan “provides certainty” is quite frankly, downright insulting. Threats from Minister Littleproud to fall into line or face further water buybacks are unhelpful and extremely distasteful when communities are suffering a horrific drought.
The band aid measures put in place at the December 2018 Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council could be undone in a heartbeat, and resolve nothing in what is a deeply flawed and detested plan.
What happens next is up to the Government and make no mistake, if the Morrison Government chooses to implement that Basin Plan in its current form, they are only delaying the inevitable decimation of what remains of many Murray Darling Basin Communities; that will be this Governments Basin Plan legacy.
We implore you the Morrison Government to take seriously the issues raised in the Productivity Commission’s Basin Plan Review and work with Murray-Darling Communities to Fix the Plan before it’s too late.
We stand ready, willing and able. Are you with us or against us?
Media Contact: Belinda Lambert, RGA Communications Manager - 0488 071 165
Jeremy Morton, RGA President – 0429 873 230