Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (14:54): A further question to the minister: why has the state government surrendered 126 megalitres of water at a cost of $23,000 per megalitre on behalf of the Marion council project when the food producers are being offered market price at $8,200 a megalitre?

The SPEAKER: That question is potentially highly argumentative; however, if the minister wishes to answer I'll turn to her.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Deputy Premier, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Minister for Climate, Environment and Water) (14:54): I am grateful for the supplementary, because in fact in the four minutes I didn't get to the specific question about the Marion proposal, which was the substance of the initial question. The Marion project is paid for by the federal government, so although I was associated with the announcement, as the minister responsible for the Murray, it was—

Mr Whetstone interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order, member for Chaffey!

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: —a project that Tanya Plibersek had signed off on and that the Marion council has been paying for. What we are happy to do is to facilitate the relinquishing of some take from the Murray in order for that to be returned to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder at the expense of both the Marion council—

Mr Whetstone: Twenty-three thousand a megalitre.

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: —and the federal government. The project itself has far more benefits than just that, and my understanding is that the figure therefore is associated with the total cost of the project rather than only the amount of water that is being relinquished. But I am surprised to have a South Australian member of parliament apparently potentially arguing against water being returned to the Murray for a project that's been undertaken by a local council—

Mr Whetstone: No, it's comparative pricing. Don't—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: —and paid for by the federal government.

Mr Whetstone: Don't verbal me.

The SPEAKER: Member for Chaffey!

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Perhaps the member is not suggesting that it is a bad idea, but that certainly would be the implication of the question being asked, and I am sure that the member can clarify if in fact he does support the project. But what is important is that although it is not very much water being returned to the Murray it is at least one more little bit while we wait for an agreement for a different approach to the recovery of the 450 gigalitres given that the approach that was inherited from the national ministers, the Liberal-National government in Canberra, has patently not worked.

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