House debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Statements by Members

Murray-Darling Basin

1:33 pm

Photo of Anne WebsterAnne Webster (Mallee, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to acknowledge the farmers and irrigators from across the basin that have been in Canberra this week to express their democratic right to protest about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. I'm aware that people from my electorate travelled great distances from Mildura, Swan Hill, Cohuna and a number of other areas. The demonstration highlights the importance of Mick Keelty's role as the interim Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources. This role is aimed at building trust between the federal government, basin states and our farmers and irrigators. Although we all agree that the plan is not perfect, scrapping the plan is not the answer to this complex challenge.

The National Party recognises more must be done, and that is why we have agreed that we must find a way to release 50 per cent of environmental water for use for farming in these severe drought conditions. It is abhorrent that weeds should be growing in forests during drought while farmers are walking off their properties and worse. With the cooperation of the basin state governments, we will develop solutions that will enable us to move forward with a plan into the future. We must work collaboratively to get through this drought and water crisis to ensure the long-term health and prosperity of our nation.