| February 15, 2018

Labor Sells-Out Irrigators

The Murray Darling Basin Plan is on the cusp of literally being blown out of the water. Federal Labor’s decision to side with the Greens has jeopardised the most productive agricultural regions and people in the country.

Yesterday Federal Labor party voted against recommendations put forward by a review into the Northern Basin, which could now see the Victorian and New South Wales governments abandon the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Damian Drum MP described the move by Labor and the Greens as an appalling attack on the nation’s hardworking irrigation communities. 

“I would expect this kind of disgraceful act by the Greens, but the fact that the Labor party has turned its back on the Murray Darling Basin Plan because of the upcoming South Australian election is absolutely unforgiveable,” Mr Drum said. 

“Earlier this week the Victorian Labor Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, and NSW Minister for Water Niall Blair indicated that the Victorian and NSW Governments will walk away from the Murray Darling Basin Plan if the Senate was to vote down the Northern Basin Review.
Mr Blair said, “This disallowance vote undermines important reforms that helped fix a 100-year old problem, and hurts the communities who have sacrificed and worked tirelessly to make the Basin Plan a success.

Ms Neville directed her anger at Federal Labor saying, “This is absolutely a slap in the face for communities and the environment, you know I am incredibly disappointed but really I’m angry on behalf of communities, communities that have done the hard yards.”

“Federal Labor has walked away from a core element of the Plan they helped design. The Plan which has already forced much hardship on irrigation dependent economies in the Basin, including the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District,” Mr Drum said.

David McKenzie who represents the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum said “This decision puts all the sacrifice and adjustment in peril if it means regions may now be subject to water buybacks to complete the Basin Plan. Further buybacks will simply be disastrous for already vulnerable communities and economies.”

“This deplorable act by Federal Labor shows they are putting the South Australian Labor election campaign ahead of regional and rural communities. There are numerous people from my electorate who now have no certainty for their future, no certainty for their community and no certainty for their families,” Mr Drum said. 

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