The Senate Select Committee on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has degenerated into farce with dissenting reports and disputed recommendations, Environment Victoria said today.
The committee, which was set up by independent Senators Madigan and Leyonhjelm to examine the impacts of the Basin Plan, has been unable to agree on its recommendations. Despite months of hearings across the Basin to gather evidence, the committee has been unable to form a unified view and has instead issued a Chair’s report and four dissenting reports with opposing recommendations.
Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager Juliet Le Feuvre said today:
“The whole inquiry process has been a massive sideshow distracting from the main game of implementing the Basin Plan and restoring degraded rivers to health. Both the Murray and the Darling are showing intense signs of stress and the chair’s recommendations don’t pick up on the urgency.
“Nobody thinks the Plan is perfect but it is the best chance we have to achieve benefits for both rivers and communities. Government investment of $13 billion makes it the largest natural resource management investment and irrigation infrastructure improvement program in Australia’s history.
“It’s time to get on with recovering environmental water to implement the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full and on time and to make the most of the $13 billion dollars that the Commonwealth government is investing in the irrigation industry. Recommendations on how to do that would have been a really useful task for the Senate Inquiry.
Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaigner, 0428 770 019