NSW Government's petulance further jeopardises the Murray-Darling
Centre Alliance notes with disappointment statements being made by the New South Wales Deputy Premier threatening to pull out of the basin plan unless a number of demands are met. These demands include NSW not contributing to 450GL of water recover efforts, the lifting of the barrages, the inclusion of transmission losses as water returned to the environment and not progressing the water sharing plans until after the drought is broken.
Photo: Rebekha near the Goolwa barrages.
"In repeatedly threatening to leave the plan, and proposing unreasonable demands, the NSW Government is behaving like a petulant child," said Centre Alliance Environmental Spokesperson Senator Rex Patrick.
"All the NSW Government is doing is trying to distract the public’s attention away from the root causes of the problem, including over-extraction of water, and the NSW Government’s shameful track record of water mismanagement within their state.
"This is a Government who threatened to pull out of the Basin Plan in February and March 2018 if the Senate did not agree to allow irrigators to take an extra 70GL from the Northern Basin.
"This is a Government that allowed widespread rorting and water theft to take place. This is a Government that stands condemned for the state of the Barwon-Darling ecosystem.
"Whilst Centre Alliance is of the strong view that the Basin Plan requires adjustment, repeated threats by the NSW Government to pull out of the Plan are disturbing and unwelcomed."
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said the Murray-Darling was in crisis.
"Whilst the river is suffering from the drought, there's absolutely no question it is also suffering from systemic mismanagement and over-extraction and that has been occurring for a very long time," Rebekha said.
"However, no state can go it alone, including NSW. The river system is interconnected and we need to work together."
Centre Alliance supports the SA Government’s characterisation of the NSW’s demands as “irrational” and anticipates the SA Water Minister will resist any attempts to advance them.
Centre Alliance will use its position in the Senate to support the SA Government to ensure the upstream states meet their obligations under the basin plan.