Government running out of time to deliver all 450GL for the Murray

16 Jun 2021
Murray River dry

The Federal Government needs to come up with a real-world plan to deliver 448 gigalitres of “real water” for South Australia's river environment from water efficiency projects under the Murray Darling Basin Plan, the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said today.

The South Australian MP was responding to Water Minister Keith Pitt after using Question Time to ask how the Government was going to actually deliver on its basin plan promise nine years ago to recover 450 gigalitres of water from water efficiency projects - despite the fact they had only delivered a pitiful two gigalitres and had ruled out buying water.

“It is completely ridiculous for the Minister to suggest that in three years’ time, the deadline for this basin water deal, they will deliver real water,” Rebekha said.

“On the 28 May South Australian Senator Anne Ruston admitted in Senate Estimates that there were challenges in recovering the 450 gigalitres committed under the Murray Plan.

“Senate Estimates heard that only two gigalitres of real water had been recovered, that there were plans underway to recover another potential 100 gigalitres but there were no plans, nothing at all, to suggest how they were going to deliver the remaining 350GL.

“For the Minister to suggest that there was plenty of ‘time to run and money to spend' in the ensuing three years to come up with some brilliant proposal to recover water, when he again stressed water buybacks were out of the question, beggar’s belief.

“Scientists and water experts have been clear that water buybacks are the most efficient way to deliver environmental water.

“The Minister ruled that out in September last year and since then we have had nothing but plans and proposals on paper that haven’t delivered a single drop of water beyond that original 2GL.

“We need real plans for real water for the environment not vague promises for imaginary water made by Ministers who act as though there are no consequences whatsoever for failing to deliver the objectives of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

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