Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012; In Committee

10:22 am

Photo of Don FarrellDon Farrell (SA, Australian Labor Party, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water) Share this | Hansard source

The totality of the legislation, when you combine the Murray-Darling Basin Plan with this piece of legislation, gets the outcome that you say you want. We protect the communities, we do not cause them any economic disadvantage and we get the environmental outcomes. That is what the totality of this legislation does. That is what it is all about. That is what we have been working for. This legislation, let us face it, started under the Howard government. They realised the problems in the middle of the drought, finally, that had occurred along the Murray-Darling Basin. We have taken that work and achieved a consent outcome between the Commonwealth and all of the states. You come from South Australia, Senator Birmingham. You know how difficult the issue of water has been, particularly with regard to relationships with other states. You know how difficult it has been to get a consent outcome. The guarantees that you say you want from this legislation are, in fact, the guarantees that this legislation will achieve. That is the whole point of this legislation. It has been the point of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It is the point of this additional legislation to achieve a consent outcome, to restore the river to health and to protect those local communities along the Murray-Darling Basin. That is what this legislation does. If that is the guarantee that you want, I give you that guarantee. This will restore the health of the river and protect those communities. That is what the legislation in totality does and that is why it is so important that we get this legislation through.


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