Statement on South Australia’s Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission

Statement on South Australia’s Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission

Never forget, this commission of inquiry was created by the previous South Australian Labor Government as a political exercise, and the outcome leaves me even more convinced this is all it was ever intended to be.

Commissioner Walker’s report demonstrates incredible bias and a subjective lack of understanding of our part of the Murray Darling Basin and what the Basin Plan is meant to achieve. That is, to restore and maintain a healthy balance between the environment and agricultural production.

The Commissioner conveniently ignores that the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys are at the centre of food and fibre production in Australia and the South Pacific region.

Numerous studies have already shown the enormous economic hit our area has taken by removing 20% of productive water. To suggest even more needs to removed, and in vast amounts, is not only misguided but physically impossible to deliver through the river systems and channel constraints.

Calls for a national Royal Commission would only create further uncertainty, right throughout regional Australia.

I have said previously, what the Plan lacks is a flexibility to adapt to changing and extreme weather conditions, whether that be drought or flood.

Every state should support an independent audit which assesses whether the water rules we have right now are allowing the balance needed for the Plan to succeed.

This would honour the bipartisan agreement and intent of the Water Act and the Basin Plan, and provide our region with the confidence it needs to remain healthy and vibrant into the future.