Thursday, 2 September 2021
Statements by Senators
[by video link] Today I wish to speak about an issue of importance for all South Australians: the health of the Murray-Darling Basin. Every South Australian knows how vital a healthy Murray-Darling Basin system is. It's vital for our economy and for the thousands of family farms, orchards and vineyards that give South Australia a global reputation for quality produce and drive tourism to our regions. It's vital to our food supply, with the Murray-Darling Basin making up a huge proportion of our nation's food supply. And most importantly, it's vital for the environment. The Murray-Darling Basin is home to 46 species of native fish and 16 internationally recognised and protected wetlands.
We know that the Murray-Darling Basin system is facing significant environmental challenges, most particularly the effects of climate change. Yet the Liberal-National coalition are playing games with the lifeblood of South Australia. They are hopelessly beholden to the eastern states on this issue. When he became Nationals leader once again we saw that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's first action was to try to tear down the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The Nationals moved against their own coalition partner in the chamber, effectively trying to blow up the plan and deny the system the agreed-upon 450 gigalitres of water. South Australians cannot trust the coalition on the Murray-Darling Basin. Only Labor can be trusted to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and to stand up for South Australia.