| February 08, 2018

Nats strike back at Labor water policy

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for Murray, the Hon Damian Drum has said he is disappointed, but not surprised, by the Labor party back flipping on the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).

“The Labor Party has shown their true colours in the last week by all of a sudden opposing the reallocation and correction of 70GL in relation to the Northern basin review, which they introduced into the act,” Mr Drum said.

“It’s my understanding that Tony Burke has been leant on by Penny Wong and Mark Butler in the lead up to the South Australian election, and all of a sudden Tony Burke has folded in relation to the Northern Basin review.

Mr Drum said the Turnbull-Joyce Government is the only federal government that will be able to deliver the Basin Plan, with no negative impacts to irrigators or the environment.

“The first thing we have to do as a government is get the 605GL Sustainable Diversion Limit through the Parliament; once we have done that we are talking about a MDBP that sits at 2,145GL.

“The 450GL of up-water can only be delivered if it can be proven there will be neutral or positive social and economic effects. This is the law. This is written in the plan and it refers to irrigation communities not just individuals,” Mr Drum said.

“If Labor and the Greens wreck the Plan, Victoria is forced to recover more water – and the social and economic safeguard disappears.”

This week during Question Time in the parliament the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud spoke about the importance of putting people before politics.

“These are real people's lives that we are playing with, people that I have known, sat with and listened to. This (the MDBP) is about leadership at this moment. This nation expects us, as leaders, to deliver this plan. If this nation and this parliament have descended into politics over leadership and people, then I pity you (Tony Burke) and I pity what you've become,” Minister Littleproud said.

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