MEDIA RELEASE: Entire Murray Darling Basin Plan At Risk

Last night's Four Corners program about the use of environmental water in New South Wales puts the entire Murray Darling Basin Plan at risk.

The purpose of the reform was to restore the system to health, but the plan becomes meaningless if there is no integrity to the system for measuring water.

Last night's program raised the prospect of environmental water, paid for by every Australian, being pumped back into irrigation channels and dams.

Environmental water must be protected to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Murray-Darling Basin.

If any states are allowing the theft of environmental water then there is no Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Barnaby Joyce and the NSW Government must respond in the strongest possible terms. Any attempt to make excuses or explain away the issues raised in last night's program will simply expose an intention from the Liberals and Nationals to destroy the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

The Basin Plan forged a consensus after more than a century of intractable conflict. The states must not be allowed to back down on their commitments.

The undermining of the Basin Plan commenced last year when Barnaby Joyce sought to question whether or not the final 450 gigalitres of held water would ever be acquired. This water is essential to deliver a healthy working Basin.

The Murray Darling Basin plan must be delivered in full and on time if there is any hope for the health of the basin.


Tony Burke