Monday, 11 September 2023
Statements by Members
Murray-Darling Basin Plan
I rise to highlight responses to legislation lobbed into this chamber last Wednesday by the Minister for the Environment and Water, changing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan—a plan with bipartisan support—including a cap on the Commonwealth's water buybacks. Here's a sample of the responses. Murray Irrigation said: 'We're still suffering from the first Labor buybacks.' The National Irrigators' Council said: 'Dairy, rice and grape growers are especially vulnerable.' The Murray region said: 'We're feeling very vulnerable and concerned.' The upper Goulburn said: 'If the minister wants to destroy agricultural production, she's doing a good job.'
As my Victorian colleagues know, their state, quite sensibly, declined the federal minister's offer to kill off farming in the Victorian Murray-Darling Basin—but not New South Wales. Our local state member, representing the bulk of irrigators, also hates this federal plan, so much so she's planned a protest outside Minister Plibersek's inner-Sydney office this Thursday. Our side of the House supports farming, and we support food production, and we'll try to head off this dreadful legislation in the Senate. But I have some advice to the New South Wales member for Murray: rather than yelling at a minister who won't even be in Sydney this week, stay at Macquarie Street, do what you were elected to do and make the New South Wales government back up their traitorous words with action. Premier Minns and his water minister must join Victoria and categorically rule out allowing these buybacks in their state. I look forward to the state member actively refusing confidence and supply until that happens.