National Farmers' Federation

Labor sets Basin Plan alight betraying farmers and regional Australia

Basin communities are now contemplating their fate with Labor effectively throwing a match on the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
The party that was architect to the plan that was ratified in 2012, tonight sided with the Greens and upheld a disallowance motion to quash amendments proposed by the Northern Basin Review.
NFF President Fiona Simson said it was a move that could likely destabilise the Plan to the point of unraveling.
“With the guidance of former Water Minister Tony Burke, under whose leadership the Plan was signed off, Labor Senators have issued a vote of no confidence in the Plan and the significant work the Murray Darling Basin Authority and Basin communities undertook in order to complete the Northern Basin Review.
“That’s a vote of no confidence in the Plan which is a historic compromise between the five Basin States and Territories, which took 100 years to come to fruition but in a short space of time has already achieved 77% of the water recovery target and delivered environmental benefits across the Basin.
“What we know, is following the outcome tonight, the New South Wales and the (Labor) Victorian Governments will walk away from the Plan – they have been clear about their intentions.”
Ms Simson said Labor’s actions were at best short-sighted, reckless and politically-motivated and at worst, a sign of contempt for regional Australia and potentially negatively transformative for our nation.
“We risk going back to the bleak days of the water wars where it is each farmer, each state to themselves.
“A situation that would most certainly be detrimental to the environment and that would see water users down-Basin suffer.”
Ms Simson said to fend off the Plan’s demise, she hoped Labor would now engage with the Government on the opportunity to see the Northern Basin Amendments brought before Parliament one last time.
“As it stands the Plan is on life support.
“We need to take politics out of the Basin.
“For the Plan to survive it must be able to operate and survive across Governments of different persuasions.
“The Government and Opposition must come together to agree on a way forward for the Northern Basin that will ensure the delivery the outcomes envisaged by all Basin stakeholders.”

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