Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012; In Committee
The government does acknowledge the work of Senator Xenophon in this area. Unfortunately, we have not found favour with the amendments in part for a couple of the reasons he described himself. The government, however, does believe it is already achieving the intent of these amendments through proposing that the downstream component of the sustainable diversion limit in the basin plan be apportioned between the states. This approach was outlined in Minister Burke's suggestion to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on 1 November 2012.
The government has announced funding for two major new programs in South Australia. There is a funding program of $180 million for the River Murray improvement program to help improve irrigation efficiency in South Australia and yield 36 gigalitres of savings towards bridging the gap. The second is a further $85 million for the industry futures and regional development research program in South Australia, which is commonly known as SA industry futures, to support industry development and structural adjustment activities in SA Murray.
The government wants to deliver certainty for the environment, communities and irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin and is seeking to progress the bill without change to deliver that certainty. For those reasons, the government will not be supporting the amendments moved by Senator Xenophon.