Liberal Democrats’ Duncan Spender has vowed to put a plug in the Australian Labor Party’s plan to reintroduce the original neutrality test for the 450Gl of ‘up-water’, labelling it unscientific and reckless.
Mr Spender has replaced David Leyonhjelm in the Senate after Mr Leyonhjelm was elected to the NSW Legislative Council at the recent state election.
‘‘Like Senator Leyonhjelm before me, I am wholeheartedly against our great state remaining part of the failed Murray-Darling Basin Plan,’’ Mr Spender said.
‘‘Shadow Water Minister Tony Burke’s promise to give South Australia 450Gl of additional water, which on past experience has been dismally mismanaged, is an affront to the upstream irrigators and farmers.
‘‘The Liberal Democrats’ position is clear: NSW must withdraw from the failed Murray-Darling Basin Plan until South Australia can be trusted to manage its share of this precious resource properly.’’
The ‘up-water’ can only be delivered if it results in neutral or positive socio-economic results, but many irrigators believe the original test to determine the results did not safeguard regional communities.
A new test, agreed to by all basin states in December, was welcomed as a way to protect communities.
In order to reverse the agreement, which Mr Burke has pledged to try and do, the support of all basin states would be needed.
‘‘If a federal Labor government is elected in May, NSW irrigators and farmers will have to watch much-needed water float by, just so the Labor party can shore up some marginal seats in South Australia,’’ Mr Spender said.
‘‘It speaks volumes that the Victorian Labor Government don’t even support this idea being floated by its federal counterparts.
‘‘Not only is Labor’s promise politically motivated, it is also reckless given the localised flooding we’ve seen with moving environmental water. There is no credible science behind Labor’s 450Gl plan, and it ignores humans as part of nature.’’