Premier goes to water in Basin Plan response

Premier Weatherill has backtracked on his position to return a minimum of 4000 gigalitres to the Murray River, with its submission to the Murray Darling Basin Authority asking for modelling of lower flow scenarios.

Premier Weatherill has backtracked on his position to return a minimum of 4000 gigalitres to the Murray River, with its submission to the Murray Darling Basin Authority asking for modelling of lower flow scenarios.

“At the eleventh hour, Premier Weatherill has asked the Authority to evaluate the impacts of 3200 and 3500 gigalitres being returned to the environment,” Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said.

“The Premier has finally conceded that there is essentially nothing to back his call for a Basin Plan that delivers 4000 gigalitres for environmental flows.”

Mr Whetstone said 4000 gigalitres would mean the end for Riverland communities and leave South Australians with no Basin Plan whatsoever.

“Nothing has changed since Mike Rann was given his marching orders. This is just more announce-and-defend policy that has completely lost sight of its original intention,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Premier Weatherill’s insistence on 4000 gigalitres will devastate irrigated food production in the Riverland and the communities that rely so heavily upon the Murray.

“It will mean at least a 35 per cent reduction in diversions being suffered by irrigated food producers along the river. It will effectively lock in the impacts of the recent drought on a permanent basis.

“Labor’s submission pleads with the MDBA to spend taxpayers’ money to promote studies that support Premier Weatherill’s position.

“Premier Weatherill has strung irrigated food producers along during this consultation process. His submission does little more than pay lip service to the concerns of river communities in South Australia, and proposes no solution to how they might be spared the impacts of his insistence on 4000 gigalitres.

“The Premier’s number is not a solution for the River Murray. His demand for more water will kill any chance of South Australia getting a Basin Plan that delivers a fair and balanced outcome.”

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