WATER MINISTER MUST COME CLEAN ON MURRAY DARLING BASIN DEAL

WATER MINISTER MUST COME CLEAN ON MURRAY DARLING BASIN DEAL

Wednesday, 22 November 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today slammed the ongoing secrecy surrounding the re-written Murray-Darling Basin Plan between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments, calling on the State Water Minister to come clean with bush communities about the details.

“Water buybacks are a blunt instrument that literally wipe communities off the map and rip away economic activity, which we have seen first-hand in our region,” Mr Marshall said.

“The Premier has repeatedly said he’s against buybacks and his Water Minister recently said she too was opposed to buybacks, saying ‘I accept they have a negative impact on communities’.

“This then begs the question, if the government knows how devastating buybacks are, what measures has the Water Minister put in place to safeguard against them? What guarantees can the government give that it won’t resort to removing further water from the consumptive pool?

“Our region, especially the Gwydir Valley, has already done more than its fair share of the heavy lifting, exceeding the sustainable diversion limits for productive water, within the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“Our region should not be contributing, that is losing, a single extra drop of productive water – we’ve already lost more than the Plan asked for and we simply cannot afford to lose further production, jobs and economic activity.”

Mr Marshall said the State Government had adopted the attitude of ‘trust us’, but so far it had done nothing to earn trust, with no transparency about its dealings, just empty platitudes.

“Our communities deserve to know what’s in the rewritten Basin Plan and I’m calling on the NSW Water Minister to show our communities the respect they deserve and be up-front about what promises her and her government have made to the Commonwealth,” Mr Marshall said.

“The Commonwealth Government has made clear they’re determined to deliver the extra 450GL of water for the environment, one way or another, but we don’t know how the NSW Government intends to help them achieve that.

“Removing water from the consumptive pool, especially without proper assessment around the socio economic and cultural impact and without demonstrating measurable environmental outcomes, is certainly not the answer.

“This government must immediately stand up to the Federal Water Minister, draw a line in the sand, and categorically rule out buybacks – the economic future of our region depends on it.”

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