New research from The Australia Institute highlights four steps governments can take to improve the management of the Murray Darling Basin:
- Emergency water allocation to the dairy industry
- Develop policies to ensure diversity in Basin agriculture
- A federal Royal Commission or federal ICAC investigation
- Pause the Basin Plan
The Institute’s proposal has been backed by independent election candidates in key seats:
- Kevin Mack, candidate for Farrer on the NSW Murray.
- Ray Kingston, candidate for Kingston in western Victoria.
- Will Landers, candidate for Parkes which covers most of the northern Basin.
- Huw Kingston, candidate for Hume, seat of Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
“The scandals of the Murray Darling Basin are well known. While there are no easy ‘solutions’ these are the first steps towards securing key industries and fostering accountable management,” said Maryanne Slattery, Senior Water Researcher at The Australia Institute.
“Pausing the Basin Plan means pausing accreditation of water resource plans and other changes to water recovery, but should not affect environmental watering, indigenous collaboration or development of policy on constraints and environmental water protection.”
“The seat of Farrer has world-class dairy farmers who have been sent to the wall by Basin mismanagement,” said Kevin Mack, candidate for Farrer.
“I support this proposal, particularly an emergency allocation of water to the southern Basin dairy industry that can be made available from South Australia’s deferred entitlements.”
“It seems everyone except the major parties know we need a Royal Commission in to the Plan. That’s why need independents in Parliament to push this through,” said Ray Kingston, candidate for Mallee.
“Pause the Plan recognises that there’s too much at stake to continue to get this wrong”
“The seat of Parkes has seen first-hand how poor policy has reduced the diversity of agriculture in the Basin,” said Will Landers, candidate for Parkes.
“Encouraging diversity is important to help move beyond the single-industry view of rural development that major parties have imposed on regional Australia for so long.”
“From the moment I announced I was standing in Hume I called for a Royal Commission into the management of the Basin,” said Huw Kingston, candidate for Hume.
“This is not because of Angus Taylor’s previous links to the Basin. More important than any individual is the clear trend that water is being managed for the benefit of the powerful and well-connected, rather than for the good of the community and the environment.”