MEDIA RELEASE: LABOR IS COMMITTED TO RESTORING THE MURRAY-DARLING BASIN TO HEALTH
HON TONY BURKE MP
MEMBER FOR WATSON
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
SA LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
LABOR IS COMMITTED TO RESTORING THE MURRAY-DARLING BASIN TO HEALTH
A Shorten Labor Government will reverse the Coalition’s harmful changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Two changes made under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government have weakened the original plan, which risks doing damage to the Basin that cannot be undone.
The first is a cap on water buybacks and the second is a change to the socio-economic definition for delivering the 450GL of water for the environment.
Labor has already committed to introducing a Bill to repeal the 1500GL cap on buybacks.
A Shorten Labor Government will also restore the original socio-economic definition for delivering the 450GL to the system.
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government sought to make the changes in an agreement with water ministers, including South Australian Water Minister David Speirs.
The Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission found the agreement was a “capitulation” which was “contrary to the interest of South Australians”.
In addition to restoring these two measures, Labor has committed to:
Restoring the integrity of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority by moving its compliance functions to the Environmental Protection Agency and ordering a formal review of claims public servants acted unlawfully
An urgent review of climate change impacts on the Basin now and into the future to determine any change in inflows and evaporation rates
Urgently renegotiating the Menindee agreement, which determines how the lakes are managed and is now decades out of date
For the last six years the Government has not taken action to implement the Basin Plan. The environment and surrounding communities are suffering as a result of this inaction. Labor will act urgently to restore the Basin to health.
Quotes from South Australian Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas;
“Federal Labor’s decision to reverse Steven Marshall’s dud deal on the River Murray is a big win for South Australians.
“The Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission found the Marshall Liberal Government capitulated to the interests of their Liberal mates by surrendering South Australia’s right to 450 billion litres of water for the Murray.
“Susan Close and I have worked tirelessly to secure this outcome. At every last opportunity I have put forward the case for a reversal of the Liberals’ River Murray sell out including meeting with Bill Shorten and Tony Burke on multiple occasions.
“This announcement by Federal Labor will importantly deliver 450 billion litres of much-needed water for South Australia, rather than pandering to the politics of the Eastern States.
“This is now an opportunity for Steven Marshall to accept the recommendations of the Royal Commission and do the right thing by the River Murray.
“The choice at this Federal election is clear: Labor will stand up for a healthy river while the Liberals will not.”
FRIDAY, 29 MARCH 2019