National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) CEO, Steve Whan, says a Senate vote to approve an amendment to the Water Act was a strong show of bi-partisan political support for delivering the Basin Plan in full.

Steve Whan said “thelegislation approved this week by the Senate enables the Minister to reintroduce amendments to the Basin Plan to implement the recommendations of the Northern Basin Review.

“The Northern Basin Review was a part of the original Basin Plan and when it is implemented, the independent evidence shows it will produce better environmental outcomes with less pain for the country communities for whom irrigated agriculture is a key driver of jobs and local services.

“Let’s be clear, it isn’t all positive for irrigation communities – some still face real challenges, but it is better overall than the alternative.

“A positive in this process has been that the Government and the Opposition have been able to come to an agreement on taking the Basin Plan forward. The Opposition made it clear earlier this year that it did support Northern Basin amendments once key issues had been addressed.

“Importantly Government and Opposition both opposed the Greens’ appalling attempt to delete the requirement that further water saving through efficiency needed to come at a neutral or improved socio economic impact.

“By moving that amendment, the Greens confirmed again that they don’t give a damn about country communities – or indeed Australia’s capacity to grow its own food and fibre.

“The Greens’speeches in this debate last night were works of fiction. They relied on slogans and unsubstantiated assertions.

“Fortunately, for the people who actually care about the Murray Darling Basin, the Senate voted strongly to continue to progress the Basin Plan.

“It is a Plan that seeks to do a difficult job, producing a healthy river system along with healthy communities and a continuing capacity for the agriculture sector to produce food and fibre for Australia. It’s a set of objectives the Water Act was clearly established to achieve, as Prime Minister Turnbull made clear when he moved the original bill as Water Minister back in 2007.”

Media Contact:Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Tuesday 26 June 2018