Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012; In Committee
After reading the amendments put forward by Senator Hanson-Young, the coalition will not be supporting them. This would create a disaster, basically. The reason for this is that if you are obligated without question to provide all these outcomes then you would have to take action that could involve the shutting down of Deniliquin. You would have to take the water, as required—all of it—from Deniliquin, from Shepparton, from Mildura and from Berri. It would be an economic disaster. It is just impractical, taking into account the vagaries of the weather, to start asking for something, saying that the average daily salinity in Lake Alexandrina would have to be 1,000 microsiemens per centimetre for 95 per cent of the years and 1,500 microsiemens per centimetre for all time. If we get our heads put in a vice and told this is the predominant goal, then there is definitely no balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes. No-one would make a business plan upstream, with knowledge of these items, because they would know that at any point all their water could be purchased and taken. When you think about it, so many things are goals, because we have to take into account the vagaries of things that are before us. But when we make them explicit outcomes, then we completely and utterly turn the whole purpose of the plan on its head. I do not think that is economically credible. In fact, it is absolutely economically fatal.