Australia’s largest private environmental and commercial water delivery company has urged Parliament to uphold the umpire’s decision and support the independent Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) in its efforts to manage the Basin Plan, free of political interference.
Murray Irrigation Chairman Phil Snowden said environmental and commercial water users cannot develop long term objectives, nor decide rural investment options when the body set up to deliver water reform is being undermined.
“A failure to support the integrity and decision making of the MDBA provides every critic of the plan with the oxygen to scrap it and start from scratch.”
“Having arrived at a rare national consensus with the plan, we expect Parliamentarians – crossbenchers in particular – to support the MDBA and reject any moves to disallow recommendations to better manage the system,” Mr Snowden said.
“It’s outrageous that after so much science, planning, modelling and assessment, the work of the MDBA is being devalued by political opportunism,” he said.
Meanwhile the Victorian Government met with the New South Wales Government in Sydney to discuss the best ways to secure the future of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville expressed her disappointment with the Basin Plan disallowance motions in the Senate.
“These risk undermining the decision of the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council and expert scientific assessment on the Northern Basin Proposal,” Ms Neville said.
“If the Senate decides to disallow the 605GL of Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) environmental projects, then the future of the Plan will be in serious jeopardy.”
“Victoria wants to put people over politics and remains focused on delivering the Plan with positive outcomes for communities, the environment and regional economies across the Basin.”
The Minister said Victoria wants to get on with the 605GL of offset projects – without them more water would not be able to be delivered to South Australia and the environment would not receive any benefits.