Statement from The Australia Institute regarding Minister Pitt’s claims that the 1200 Bridges Too Far report by Kate McBride, Australia Institute fellow and fifth generation farmer, into the Murray Darling Basin Plan is ‘full of claims based on false assertions.’
“The Australia Institute stands by its 1200 Bridges Too Far report by Kate McBride, Australia Institute fellow and fifth generation farmer, into the Murray Darling Basin Plan. It is curious that the Minister claimed the report is ‘full of claims based on false assertions’ but has failed to outline what any of those inaccuracies are,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director of The Australia Institute.
“Projects that have no prospect of returning water to the environment should not be funded under the Off-Farm Efficiency Program, as it is funded through the Water for Environment Special Account.
“We need more transparency about how money is being spent in the Murray Darling Basin Plan. In Senate Estimates today all sides of politics raised concerns about the level of transparency and accountability relating to the spending of funds through this program.
“On the 3rd of March Minister Pitt referred to 10 projects under the Off-Farm Efficiency Program that could start ‘within 3-12 months’. Through responses to Senate Estimates questions, we know that some of those projects would increase storage and flow capacity for irrigators upstream.
“The Minister should explain why projects that would increase the storage capacity of irrigators upstream are being ‘fast tracked’ under a program that is supposed to be returning water to the environment.
“Our door is always open and we would welcome the opportunity to brief the Minister regarding the details of our report at any time.”