Draft ignores the people: McCormack

The Murray-Darling Basin Draft Plan ignores the farmers who feed the nation, months of consultation with regional communities and the Independent MP who helps keep the Prime Minister in The Lodge.

Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the draft, released today by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority after a series of delays, does not provide a triple-bottom line solution for the cities and towns dependent on productive water.
“The uncertainty which has hovered over Riverina irrigation centres like a guillotine waiting to drop will, if this draft goes ahead, now remain in place for years to come,” Mr McCormack said.
“Labor has not adequately responded to the report handed down by Regional Australia Committee, led by Tony Windsor, which is a slap in the face to him considering he sides with the Government on almost every issue.
“This is not a good draft and does not so much as even consider the family farmers who keep Australia and many of our poor Pacific neighbours fed.
“This is not simply about irrigation farmers – it is also about the nurses, doctors, hairdressers, newsagents, police, school teachers, owners of motels and coffee shops and all the others who rely on a strong farming sector to sustain regional communities.
“There has been widespread condemnation about this draft and so there should be.”
This draft recommends taking another 2750 gigalitres from the system without providing any justification for where and how water will be used to help the environment.
“Only when we are a net importer of food and regional communities return to being the arid wasteland they were before European explorers first visited will this Labor Government and the Greens to whom they are beholden be happy,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack will be joined by Shadow Water Minister and Nationals’ Senator Barnaby Joyce in Griffith tomorrow.
Nationals’ Senators Nigel Scullion and Fiona Nash will also visit the city.
“We want to hear from as many business people and residents as possible as to how this will have an impact on their livelihoods and their futures,” Mr McCormack said.
A community meeting will be held at the Griffith Ex-Servicemen’s Club from 11am tomorrow after which the Shadow Minister and his colleagues will visit several Griffith businesses.

Cristy Houghton