A key report has today highlighted just how far Murray-Darling Basin reform has gone off the rails under Labor, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
The COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Reform Council today released its Water Management Partnerships: Performance report for 2010 – a report on the progress of the Commonwealth and the Basin States against Water Management Partnerships under the July 2008 Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform.
“This report shines a light on the missed opportunities, delays and deferrals that dog Labor’s approach to reform in the Murray-Darling Basin,” Senator Birmingham said today.
The report is especially critical of Labor’s progress in delivering its so-called priority projects:
“The council notes that jurisdictions agreed to carry out their responsibilities in a ‘timely manner’ and considers – in most part – this has not occurred.” – p. x
“Labor’s failure to deliver on reform is highlighted by the Council’s assessment of risks to the reform which include the Government itself.”
“The Council has identified two key risks to future reform milestones linked to the Basin Plan:
·         The risk that timeframes for delivering the proposed Basin Plan will be extended further
·         The lack of an integrated approach by both levels of government to developing and implementing the Basin Plan” – p. 20
“It’s critical for Basin communities that we get this reform right.  Rather than the balanced reform we need, the Government’s approach to date has delivered only anger, resentment and disappointment up and down the Basin.
“Sadly, the Government’s hapless handling of this process and inability to progress vital water-saving infrastructure projects present a real risk to the future of Murray-Darling Basin reform.”