The hypocrisy of South Australian Senator Rex Patrick is on full view again, as he rails against spending more to protect jobs in Murray Darling Basin communities, while at the same time being a vocal advocate of hundreds of billions in taxpayer’s money being spent to build submarines in South Australia.

National Irrigators’ Council CEO, Steve Whan, says “the problem with short term publicity seeking politicians like Senator Patrick is that they put getting a headline and blatant parochialism ahead of any consistency and national interest.

“This week Senator Patrick is affecting outrage that it costs more, to recover water for the Murray Darling Basin through efficiency measures, than it does through buyback.

“It does. But it is worthwhile because it means jobs stay in rural communities.

“Extensive on the ground – community by community – research has shown very clearly that just buying back water results in jobs going from country communities.

“It’s easy logic to follow. If you have a farm that employs 20 people in an intensive irrigated operation and you replace it with a dryland farm employing four people then you have significant losses for the local town – not just the direct jobs but also the flow on jobs in farm services, harvesting, transport etc, right on through to teachers in the local school.

“Rex Patrick thinks that doesn’t matter. He thinks the jobs should go, with money being spent instead on other services – for people who are no longer there.

“The hypocrisy is rank.

“Senator Patrick is an advocate of building submarines in Australia.

“If he followed his own logic, he would be advocating they be built overseas because that would save Australian taxpayers not just millions, but billions of dollars. Adelaide has this $50 billion project because Australian Governments decided spending extra was justified to help Adelaide out with jobs.

“Most Australians, including the irrigation farmers whose taxes are helping fund those Adelaide jobs, would probably agree.

“What they wouldn’t agree with is with an unelected parochial South Australian Senator who thinks jobs don’t matter if they aren’t in his backyard.”

Media Contact: Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Monday 18 March 2019