Tuesday, 11 February 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) environmental flows are critical to the health of the Murray-Darling Basin, which is home to more than 2 million people and more than 40 Aboriginal nations, and supports over 120 waterbird species and 46 native fish species,
(ii) the continued attack on environmental flows to the Murray-Darling Basin will threaten the overall sustainability of the river, which is needed to support people, plants and animals,
(iii) the river is a national asset, it does not belong to any one single State, and
(iv) the threats by some Basin states to pull out of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is putting the future of the entire river system in jeopardy; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to confirm its commitment to protect environmental flows as required under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The coalition government supports this motion. There is no attack on environmental flows. Just as farmers across New South Wales and Queensland have been on zero allocation, so too is the environment. The heartbreaking truth is that we have towns right across the Murray-Darling Basin that are running out of water. The drought is ongoing despite recent rains, and without significant rainfall across all of our catchments we'll be entering arrangements for critical human need in line with the bipartisan provisions of the Water Act. During this drought, the government won't resile from putting the needs of our communities first.
Question agreed to.