90 Second statement - Murray-Darling Basin
It will come as no surprise to many to learn that the entire Murray-Darling Basin draft plan, due for release on 28 November, has been leaked to the media. Who is to blame for this outrage?
The chairman of the supposedly independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Craig Knowles, has blamed environmentalists for spilling the information—and that just makes the whole situation worse. How did environmentalists have access to the full contents of the draft in the first place? Whoever gave the contents of the draft to the greenies ought to be outed and sacked forthwith.
This whole process has been a stitch-up from the start. Family farmers have always been put last in this whole debate by the authority and by this Labor government. It is shameful that the environmentalists had access to all the information and then disclosed it. How could you ever trust them? How could you trust a Labor government which refuses to adopt the 21 recommendations of the committee headed by the member for New England? Indeed, how could he trust them to continue governing when Labor has snubbed his report?
It is a national disgrace that there are a further 2,800 gigalitres of productive water being demanded from the system at a time when world food demand is growing. Only when we are a net importer of food will this Labor government be satisfied. This is not a draft based on good science. There is no justification for this amount of water being stolen from regional communities. The front page of my local newspaper this morning suggested that 15,000 jobs in New South Wales alone will be lost if this draft is made policy. Let me tell you now: my people are not going to cop that lying down—and nor should they.