PM must commit to Basin Plan and take water portfolio from the Nationals

23 Jun 2021
River presser

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called on the Prime Minister to commit to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and take the water portfolio out of the hands of the National Party in light of their efforts to scuttle a key promise to deliver 450gigalitres of environmental water to the river system.

The Centre Alliance MP called a joint press conference of South Australian MPs and Senators today after the Nationals put out a media release stating their plans to amend the Basin Plan in the Senate.

The release said the amendments would seek to remove the 450GL of promised water returns, remove all water buybacks, enable new offset projects, and stop all water returns at the end of the basin plan in 2024.

“We need the Prime Minister to call out this appalling behavior by the Nationals,” Rebekha said today.

“We need the Prime Minister to show leadership to say ‘the plan will be delivered in full and on time and we need to wrestle the portfolio out of the Nationals’ hands, they can’t be trusted with this.

“In the 48-hours since Barnaby Joyce has taken over as the Nationals' Leader and Deputy Prime Minister we have seen a return to the old days of the Nationals constantly threatening to derail the Basin Plan.

“This plan was negotiated in good faith, with all states giving ground for the common good of the Murray-Darling Basin so we could secure a once in a generation rescue package to secure the river’s future.

“On Monday it was the Nationals banding together in the Senate to vote against a motion confirming the delivery of the Basin Plan on time and in full and now it’s actively seeking to change that plan.

"Enough is enough. The PM needs to take action and all South Australian Members need to stand by the Basin Plan.

"I would like to thank those Members who were able to take time from their busy schedule to attend today's press conference, including Liberal Member for Sturt James Stevens, Independent Senator Rex Patrick, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Labor Senators Don Farrell and Marielle Smith and Liberal Senator Andrew McLachlan."

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