Senate vote puts basin plan 'in peril'

The lower Darling at Bald Hill, north of Pooncarie, after fresh flows arrived in August 2016.

The lower Darling at Bald Hill, north of Pooncarie, after fresh flows arrived in August 2016.

THE future of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is at risk after Federal Government changes that sought to distribute water differently were shot down in the Senate.

The coalition was unable to strike a deal with Labor, which supported a Greens disallowance motion that passed 32 votes to 30 last night.

“Make no mistake, tonight the Australian Senate puts the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in peril,” cabinet minister Simon Birmingham told Parliament.

The government was attempting to reduce the amount of water being returned to the environment in southern Queensland and northern NSW, easing pressure on farmers in those regions.

The two Nick Xenophon Team senators and independent Cory Bernardi, all from SA, also backed the Greens’ move to sink changes to the plan.

On Tuesday, the NSW and Victorian water ministers, Niall Blair and Lisa Neville, said they would pull out of the basin plan if the Turnbull government’s proposed changes were not passed in the Senate this week.

More coverage of this story in Friday's Sunraysia Daily, 16/2/18. To subscribe to our Digital Edition, click here

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