Senate debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change: Water

5:04 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Australia's water security is threatened by climate change, and it is hanging in the balance because of the climate denialism inside the National Party and of those at the helm of Australia's water policy.

The Murray-Darling Basin is in crisis. It is oversubscribed. The extraction levels are so big that there is not enough water in the system the keep all of the users sustainable. There's not enough water in the system to keep the river flowing from A to B. In fact, we have towns right now in New South Wales, like Wilcannia, that don't have enough water to drink. Of course, this issue gets worse and worse not just because of the drying climate but because of those further upstream who are allowed to siphon off water that would have run into the system when it rained.

So on one hand we've got climate denialism overarching in the National Party and in this government, and then we've got a corrupt system of mismanagement of the scarce amount of water that is there.

Senator McKenzie interjecting—

We've got cotton farmers in the north harvesting floodwater. Meanwhile towns further downstream don't even have enough clean water to drink, let alone to irrigate crops. I tell you what: you can't eat cotton, and you certainly can't—


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