Commonwealth Should Stick To Original Basin Plan

Commonwealth Should Stick To Original Basin Plan

Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh

3,200 GL Basin Plan Is Unacceptable: Walsh

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian Coalition Government will not support a 3,200 gigalitre Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

We are bitterly disappointed the Commonwealth Government is not pursuing the 2,750 gigalitre Plan, with offsets, that was agreed to by Basin State Ministers and the Commonwealth in July this year.

Instead the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Tony Burke are off on a fantasy trip with South Australia promising measures that other Basin states cannot and will not accept.

Today’s stunt is outside the agreed process that was set to finalise a consensus Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

 

The Commonwealth’s announcement today is an unhelpful distraction from the many more immediate issues that need to be resolved within the current iteration of the draft Basin Plan.

While South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is crowing about this news today, he is conveniently ignoring the fact that his preferred 3,200 gigalitre Basin Plan will put river communities at risk of future devastating floods similar to those we experienced earlier this year and last year.

This is the same Premier who has been loudly proclaiming that farmers don’t deserve any compensation for loss and damages caused by a 3,200 gigalitre Basin Plan.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s own modelling shows a 3,200 gigalitre plan provides only a marginal improvement in environmental outcomes for a significant socio-economic cost that is just too great for Victoria’s Basin communities.

Removing constraints essentially means allowing the significant flooding of private land along the river systems in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia for marginal environmental benefit.

This would cause substantial and sustained flooding of towns and private land, which is totally unacceptable to Victoria.

Victoria supports a 2,750 gigalitre Basin Plan with up to 650 gigalitres of environmental offsets as recommended to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority by the Basin Ministerial Council in July, and which was agreed to by all States and the Commonwealth.

Victoria will continue the fight for a plan that achieves balance between the environment, social and economic needs, and between the needs of the basin states.