Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has called on NSW and Victoria to stand by their vows to walk away from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan following the narrow passing of a disallowance motion by the Greens.
In a 32 to 30 vote in the Senate tonight, the government lost its bid to free up more water for irrigators in Queensland and northern NSW. Instead, farmers will be forced to return 70 gigalitres of water to the river system each year to quell the South Australian government’s misleading allegations over water theft.
“The return of this water will have no environmental benefit but will cost an estimated 180 jobs across communities that rely on the river network for their living,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“The fact is that only six per cent of every gigalitre of water flowing down the Darling River makes it to South Australia, and much of it evaporates once it reaches the artificially fresh Lake Alexandrina, benefitting neither the environment nor agriculture.
“It’s as simple a choice as giving the water to farmers or the sun.”
Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville and NSW Water Minister Niall Blair warned Senators earlier this week that if they supported the Greens disallowance motion, they would withdraw support for the basin plan.
“If the basin plan collapses there will be the opportunity to develop a new plan that is less flawed and not based on the assumption that a drought lasts forever,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“We need a better plan to manage water in the Murray-Darling Basin based on fact, not emotion.”
Did you miss Mandy's chat with Sussan Ley on this issue before it all happened? It was on the 8th of Feb!