NSW Government’s Petulance Further Jeopardises Murray-Darling River

4 December 2019

Centre Alliance notes with disappointment statements being made by the New South Wales Deputy Premier threatening to pull out of the basin plan unless a number of demands are met. These demands include NSW not contributing to 450GL of water recover efforts, the lifting of the barrages, the inclusion of transmission losses as water returned to the environment and not progressing the water sharing plans until after the drought is broken.

"In repeatedly threatening to leave the plan, and proposing unreasonable demands, the NSW Government is behaving like a petulant child," said Centre Alliance Environmental Spokesperson Senator Rex Patrick. "All the NSW Government is doing is trying to distract the public’s attention away from the root causes of the problem, including over-extraction of water, and the NSW Government’s shameful track record of water mismanagement within their state."

"This is a Government who threatened to pull out of the Basin Plan in February and March 2018 if the Senate did not agree to allow irrigators to take an extra 70GL from the Northern Basin,” said Senator Patrick. "This is a Government that allowed widespread rorting and water theft to take place. This is a Government that stands condemned for the state of the Barwon-Darling ecosystem."

"Whilst Centre Alliance is of the strong view that the Basin Plan requires adjustment, repeated threats by the NSW Government to pull out of the Plan are disturbing and unwelcomed," said Senator Patrick.

"The Murray-Darling is in crisis. Whilst the river is suffering from the drought, there's absolutely no question it is also suffering from systemic mismanagement and over-extraction and that has been occurring for a very long time," said Rebekha Sharkie.

"However, no state can go it alone, including NSW. The river system is interconnected and we need to work together."

Centre Alliance supports the SA Government’s characterisation of the NSW’s demands as “irrational” and anticipates the SA Water Minister will resist any attempts to advance them.

Centre Alliance will use its position in the Senate to support the SA Government to ensure the upstream states meet their obligations under the basin plan.

Planning for Post-Pandemic Recovery Must Start Now
30 March 2020
Senator Rex Patrick has called on the Federal Government to commence work on a recovery and nation-building program to roll out after the coronavirus pandemic ends.
Read More
Student Doctors and Nurses Should be Readied to Reinforce our Health Workforce
18 March 2020
South Australian Senator Rex Patrick has called on Australian Governments and universities to move urgently to mobilise medical and nursing students to form an auxiliary...
Read More
Statement on Senator Patrick's COVID-19 Self-Isolation and Testing
18 March 2020
In response to multiple requests to provide an update on my health status following my contact with Senator Bragg I make the following statement:I attended...
Read More
Morrison Government Dragging Feet on Europe Entry Ban Decision
14 March 2020
Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the Morrison Government to move without further delay to impose entry bans on foreign travellers from Europe...
Read More