House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Questions without Notice

Murray-Darling Basin

2:34 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the Environment and Water) Share this | Hansard source

I think the member for Nicholls for his question. It's a great opportunity for me to speak a little bit about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the position of those opposite. What we have is a Murray-Darling Basin Plan that has been in place for almost a decade now. The reason that we introduced the plan was that we saw, as demand for water increased, the pressure on communities along the river system—on towns, cities, farmers, irrigators and the environment—was increasing. In fact, in 2019 we saw the driest year on record for the Murray-Darling Basin system. The fact that we had the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in place then saved the river system from catastrophe. It was still very, very tough, but it saved the river system from catastrophe. That's important. We're talking about a million square kilometres, with 2.3 million people relying on that river system.

The member opposite has asked about the 450 gigalitres of additional environmental water that was a condition for South Australia signing on to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. On this side, we fully support returning that 450 gigalitres of water to the system. I'm curious about whether those opposite support this. I know the honourable member doesn't support it; he's already tweeted saying that he doesn't support it.


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