Water managment

Senators put green politics before vital water scheme

16 February 2018

The Australian
16 February 2018

Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers including self-declared Australian Conservative Cory Bernardi will have much to answer for if their Senate vote on Wednesday proves the death knell of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The plan, enacted in late 2012, was always a compromise involving the commonwealth, four states and stakeholders. For all its apparent flaws — which vary depending on the perspective of the critic and where they live and farm along the 3375km river system — the plan has proved useful in managing water allocations. Its benefits to the nation should outweigh political considerations, as southern NSW citrus farmer Alan Whyte said in The Australian yesterday. If participants were to return to the drawing board for years of negotiations they would be unlikely to produce anything better.

Under the Greens’ disallowance motion, passed 32 to 30 by the Senate, an extra 70 gigalitres of water will be diverted to the environment in the northern part of the basin. Not for the first time the Greens, who have little regard for farming or the economy, have put environmentalism ahead of common sense. On this occasion — possibly to further embarrass Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals — Labor and several crossbenchers followed suit. Senator Bernardi also went with the green-Left, saying he was concerned about the Nationals being in charge and about allegations of corruption and water theft in NSW. This vote will not help.

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