Wednesday, 11 September 2019
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Murray-Darling Basin is in crisis,
(ii) the Murray-Darling Basin is being exploited by water barons and big corporate irrigators who are pushing up the price of water and squeezing family farms out of the water market, and
(iii) urgent and immediate action is required to prevent more mass native-fish deaths, and more devastation for family farms, river communities and the environment; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to impose a moratorium on non-water users buying up water while the Murray-Darling Basin remains in crisis.
The government understands the impact that drought is having across this country, including in the Murray-Darling Basin, and the government has referred the matter of the basin water market to the ACCC to investigate. It would be inappropriate to pre-empt the work of this body.
The Labor party won't be supporting this motion, although we do agree that the government needs to explain how it's going to deal with the problems of water speculation as they've been in government for six years and they're not addressing the many significant issues of the Murray-Darling Basin. But we also acknowledge that water market design is complex. There are many consequences, including for families and farmers that live in that area. That complexity can't be dealt with through this motion.
We urge the Greens to consider bringing back subjects like this to areas where the entire Senate can debate and put forward different views. These aren't straightforward or simple subjects, and it's very difficult to support this motion because of that.