Time for NSW Labor to back basin plan

Media release | 10 May 2018

Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, has congratulated the Federal Parliament on overturning a Greens’ disallowance motion that threatened the social and environmental benefits of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Blair said river communities have been crying out for certainty and this agreement ensures that.

“The vote in the Senate last night supports our position of ensuring that the Basin Plan is not ripped apart by whatever election is being fought at the time,” Mr Blair said.

“It’s time for NSW Labor to decide their position on the Basin Plan and stop playing politics with the livelihoods of NSW communities. In February, when the Northern Basin review was disallowed, Shadow Water Minister, Chris Minns, was happy to sell out our communities to stand with his mates in the Greens and South Australia.

“Now that Federal Labor has come to the party ensuring these crucial parts of the Basin Plan are in place, Mr Minns has some big decisions to make.

“Will he continue to allow Greens’ MLC Jeremy Buckingham to write his regional water policy for him, or will Mr Minns actually stand up for food and fibre producers and the communities they support?

“As well as winning the support of Federal Labor to defeat the Greens disallowance vote, the Turnbull Government has also won the support of Labor Senators to re-instate the Northern Basin review through legislation.

“The published agreement demonstrates that Tony Burke is satisfied with the new era of compliance in the Northern Basin. As the architect of the original Basin Plan, he understands it aims to produce environmental, social and economic outcomes.

“The NSW Government believes the establishment of the Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR), in conjunction with the Northern Basin Commissioner, will restore confidence in water compliance across NSW, while safeguarding the equitable use of water for all stakeholders.

“NSW Labor needs to decide whether it remains part of a double act with the Greens, or whether it backs its Federal counterparts and the important work the Basin Plan seeks to achieve.”