Voting Blind On Murray-Darling: Crucial Vote On Murray-Darling Basin Plan Despite A Lack Of Critical Information

9 May 2018

Centre Alliance has called for a pause to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan after the Labor Opposition joined forces with the Government to amend the Plan and allow irrigators to extract an extra 605 billion litres of water from the Murray-Darling.

"The Senate tonight made a wrong decision for the wrong reasons," said Senator Rex Patrick. "While Centre Alliance is fully supportive of the Plan being executed in full, it has to be implemented properly. A plan by name only is not very useful."

The increased extraction has been approved on the basis that the 36 Commonwealth funded projects will achieve an equivalent level of environmental effect as the 605 billion litres that will be taken from the Murray-Darling.

"In February, at my request, the Senate ordered the production of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s technical assessments for the 36 projects to allow senators to establish whether the SDL adjustments should proceed. They were provided to the Senate but the very next day the Authority wrote to and informed Centre Alliance that the assessments show an incomplete picture of the Murray-Darling state of affairs," said Rex.

"Despite the lack of critical information, directly relevant to the motion that the Senate was asked to vote on tonight, the Labor Party together with some of the crossbench, decided to vote blindly and amend Australia's largest environmental program.

"Centre Alliance is not willing to vote for such a crucial amendment to the Plan while a lack of transparency remains."

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