Basin plan going nowhere fast

Senator Barnaby Joyce

Basin plan going nowhere fast

The revised draft basin plan has not excited anybody. When I called three State Minister’s offices this morning I got three answers, “No, no, no”. The South Australian State Minister is on the TV screaming “No”.

The Federal Minister, Tony Burke, has said he is not prepared to take the plan to Parliament, so he has said no to his own plan.

It would not be unusual, in this environment, that the Coalition would not agree to a plan for which we cannot find one key stakeholder to sign off on.

The Minister tries to wriggle out of it by saying, “What would you do if you were me?” Well, if I were him I would definitely call an election, but as far as water goes, I would try to ensure that when the plan was announced I had some senior stakeholders on side with me.

There is no certainty when the Minister himself talks about the fact that the figure 2,750 could go up to 3,200 or down to 2,400, or anywhere in between. That’s not certainty, that’s a threat.

You are not looking after the socioeconomic aspects of the Basin when your own report talks about 1,600 people losing their job, and then freely admitting that those who are keeping their job might be moving from Deniliquin to Mt Tom Price to do so.

Every Australian who pushes a shopping trolley has a stake in the Murray-Darling as it produces 40 per cent of our food.

The Coalition is prepared to sit down with Minister Burke and get a better outcome but the 2.1 million people who live in the Murray-Darling deserve better than this.