Revised basin draft fails to deliver: McCormack

Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has called on Federal Water Minister Tony Burke to get the final Murray-Darling Basin plan right “for the farmers’ sake, for the nation’s sake and for his own sake”.

Mr McCormack has made three speeches in Federal Parliament in the past two days highlighting the inadequacies of the revised draft plan which the Murray-Darling Basin Authority issued to the States on Monday.
He used Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s own words from a speech she made at the Global Foundation Summit in Melbourne on 3 May, calling for the need to “strengthen irrigation”.
“I concur with the Prime Minister when she said, ‘Australia must be ready to act as the food bowl of Asia—not only a mineral resources quarry—to meet the needs of a growing region,’” Mr McCormack said.
“I agree, and so do all of the hard-working Riverina farming families I represent.”
But, as Mr McCormack told Parliament, this will not be possible if the Government takes 2750 gigalitres – the equivalent of five Sydney Harbours – every year from farmers and gives it to unsubstantiated environmental needs.
“That is not based on good science or good economics and it will not help our ability to feed ourselves and others into the future.
“The unacceptable 8 October 2010 basin guide, which became the unacceptable draft, has now morphed into the unacceptable revised draft which has been put to the states.
“I hope New South Wales and Victoria reject it out of hand for the disgrace that it is and for the contempt it has shown regional people who have put down tools, closed the doors of their businesses and stopped their tractors to attend community information meetings.”
Mr McCormack said the MDBA had not listened to the 12,000 people who attended the Yoogali community meeting last December and called on Minister Burke to ensure the final basin plan had a triple bottom line with balanced economic, social and environmental outcomes.
You can read the rest of Mr McCormack’s speeches at

Cristy Houghton