Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012; In Committee
Senator McKenzie talks about her concern for the Murray-Darling Basin communities. I was born in Murray Bridge; I have a sense of what those communities want and need out of this legislation. I am confident that the things we have done so far and the things that we will be able to achieve into the future once this legislation is passed will do what you claim you want—and I do not dispute and I accept that you want those Murray-Darling Basin communities restored to health and prosperity. All of the things you have mentioned are things that the federal government is doing. All of those things will be things into the future that will assist in that restoration process.
The key here is to get this legislation through. The key is to say to these communities: 'We have now got some certainty. We now know what direction we are heading in.' That will ensure that those communities that are seeking the support that we are going to get from this process do so and that all of that can happen. It can only happen once we pass this legislation. That is why the government is pushing ahead with it. We have reached agreement with all the parties about how to proceed with this. Now we want to implement it. The only way we can implement it is by passing this legislation. The sooner we pass it, the sooner what you say you want—namely, the restoration to health of those communities—will be achieved.