House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Statements by Members

Murray-Darling Basin

1:53 pm

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The communities and the primary producers of the southern connected basin in the Murray-Darling Basin are increasingly feeling the impact of the lack of affordable water as they try to produce the nation's food and fibre. Next week a convoy of irrigators, which could number in the thousands, is going to descend on Canberra to raise awareness of the drought and the hardship irrigators are experiencing. They are also very aware of the policies that the Labor Party took to this year's election, and how they were going to introduce buybacks. That is a fact.

The thought of losing another 450 gigalitres out of the available agricultural water is just too harsh to acknowledge. What we have to understand is that the 450 gigalitres of up water that is hanging over the heads of the southern connected basin—the 450 gigalitres that needs to be recovered—is protected by the socioeconomic neutrality test. If recovering this water is going to have a negative social or economic impact on those communities then that water cannot be recovered. I think it's time that we had a serious conversation to acknowledge that this final 450 gigalitres of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is simply going to be too harsh, too damaging and too detrimental to the communities that live up and down the Murray-Darling Basin.