Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Bills

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

12:13 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (Queensland, National Party, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

You talk about negotiations with the states, but when asked which states you say you do not know which states, but you do believe you will find 450 gigalitres—'Just trust us! I love you in the morning, the cheque's in the mail and trust me, we'll get 450 gigs!' Which states the agreement was made with is pretty pertinent. I imagine we can rule out Western Australia and Tasmania, but after that it gets a bit cloudy as to which ones we are talking about. Are they all on board? Is South Australia on board? New South Wales? Are we talking about both of them?

When you think about it, your capacity to deliver this is crazy. Even if you did it is financially impossible, because we do not have the money. It is hydrologically impossible because even Dr Dickson, the head of the MDBA, stated that they came up with 2,750 because of the restraints that made it highly unlikely that you would get any water further down. Hydrologically, by the department's own words, this is improbable. There has been no socioeconomic study to say whether it is moral

You are affecting people's lives unreasonably—destroying them—and financially it is completely and utterly impossible. It is $55 million out of the forward estimates—it is just not going to happen. Even the $1.77 billion is a cost that you cannot possibly provide. It is costing around 10 grand a meg at the moment and you think you are going to do it for four in the future. It is just madness! I know you have to say, 'We believe strongly that we can deliver 450,' but it is just not right.

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