MEDIA RELEASE: Barnaby Joyce Proposes to Sabotage the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has signalled his intent to dishonour the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

In a letter to the South Australian Minister for Water, Ian Hunter, Barnaby Joyce has made it clear he is walking away from the bipartisan approach outlined in the Plan. He wants to take the $1.7 billion made available for on-farm efficiency measures and use that money for other activities. This is funding that delivers 450GL of water for the environment. These commitments are all enshrined in legislation that he himself supported.

We know that if you start picking at the Plan, the whole plan will start to unravel, and damage to the rivers will follow.

The Murray Darling Basin isn’t just a negotiation between Federal and State Governments. Ultimately the negotiations are about whether we have a healthy working basin. If you undermine the health of the system the rivers themselves respond and become the toughest negotiators of all.

Last time, pulling too much water out of the rivers meant algal blooms, unusable water, and the mouth of the Murray closing up.

That’s bad for irrigators, bad for communities, and devastating for the environment.

If we expect to see a healthy Murray Darling Basin into the future, Malcolm Turnbull needs to pull Barnaby Joyce back into line.


Tony Burke