DURING his visit to Sunraysia last week, federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud made plain his intention to follow through on his December 2017 commitment to achieving delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, “as agreed in 2012 by four states and both sides of Parliament”.
Mr Littleproud was diplomatic in crediting Labor’s Tony Burke as acting with “sincerity and integrity” in the ongoing basin plan negotiations but he had a crack at Labor’s position in South Australia prior to the upcoming SA election.
Mr Littleproud was being unfairly selective in who he attacks, because in reality the SA position is necessary and defensible.
The real camel in the tent with respect to the full MDBP, “as agreed”, being torpedoed, is Victoria.
Victoria signed up for the full MDBP, which Mr Littleproud stressed includes 450GL of upwater, actual physical water to be created from mainly on-farm efficiencies.
Driven by populism, not evidence, Victoria’s Water Minister Lisa Neville has repeatedly welshed on the 2012 agreement, describing the plan as a 2750GL plan, not the 3200GL plan Mr Littleproud says he is committed to delivering.
Under pressure from dairy and gravity district anti-MDBP groups, and on pro-dairy advice from her own department DELWP, Lisa Neville is attempting to subvert the MDBP, and divert the $1.57 billion upwater funding to propping up the financial black hole that is the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District, and to subsidising Victorian gravity irrigators.