Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bills

Water Amendment (Long-term Average Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment) Bill 2012; In Committee

9:49 pm

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | Hansard source

In response to amendments (1) and (5) but particularly (5), again it does appear that the Greens are making a mistake. It is a very prescriptive clause and the detail of that will be in the Basin Plan. That is where it should lie and that is the structure of this legislation. The Basin Plan will contain, as it does now, a range of indicia, numbers, to achieve what can effectively be called environmentally sustainable levels of take. You cannot use the framework legislation to effectively commit now, because the Basin Plan will highlight those.

The bill already requires—this is the important part—that the environmentally sustainable level of take be maintained. Section 23A(3)(b) says that, and, as it is an amendment to the Water Act, Australia's international obligations—which is also covered I think in the Greens amendment (5)—are already covered under the objects of the act, in section 3(b). On that basis the government will not be supporting the amendments.

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