Thursday, 30 November 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. How is the Albanese Labor government delivering on its promise to protect the Murray-Darling river system and every Australian who depends on it? What has the government had to overcome?
Thank you so much to the member for Boothby for that question. I know that, as a proud South Australian, she is absolutely committed to seeing the Murray mouth open to the sea and water flowing right through the Murray-Darling Basin system. For the three million Australians that rely on this river system for their drinking water, for the 2.3 million people who live in the basin—
and for the industry, the farmers, the First Nations peoples, the towns and the communities that depend on this water, this is a very important day.
Of course, we need to make sure that our rivers have enough water in them for the driest periods—
and we know that another drought is approaching.
Opposition members interjecting—
It's really interesting to hear the interjections and the hostility from those opposite.
They are in a complete bind on this because, on the one hand, they keep saying they support the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but, with every word and every action, they have opposed the delivery of this plan. You have senators like Senator Ruston saying: 'We will not give up. We will not stop trying because we are committed to the delivery of the plan.' We've got Senator Birmingham saying they will deliver the plan in full and on time—
The minister will pause. The member for Barker was on a warning—
The member for Barker then left the chamber.
and is a quick learner; it's good to see! The House will come to order. The question was heard in silence. The minister will also be given the same courtesy.
We had the member for Sturt and Senator McLachlan just weeks ago saying they support buybacks and support the 450 gigalitres being delivered, yet at every opportunity they have voted against it. We had the member for Sturt voting against the delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan today.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is now warned. That means—just pause, Minister—if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition continues to interject, she won't be here for question time either. We are going to have silence for the remainder of this answer. The minister has the call.
I'm not really sure what's worse—the member for Sturt voting against the interests of his community, the community he represents, or Senators McLachlan and Antic being too gutless to turn up and vote either way in the Senate.
Today is a very important day for the delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. We achieved a lot when we were last in government. Communities worked hard to achieve the outcomes in that Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and then for 10 years we were on a go-slow. For 10 years nothing happened. Today, with the passing of this legislation, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is back on track. It's important for communities and it's great for the environment.