Coalition policy announced last night by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will deliver true national management of the Murray Darling Basin.
“The founding fathers’ failure to provide for national governance of the Murray Darling Basin has resulted in more than a century of unsustainable pressure being placed on the system,” Coalition Murray Darling spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
“It is clear that Labor’s approach to managing the Murray Darling Basin is completely inadequate and Kevin Rudd has washed his hands of achieving true national management of the system.
“We still see that with no one actually in charge of the system, the states remain stumbling blocks to effective management and urgent infrastructure upgrades.
“The Coalition is committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve true national management of the Murray Darling Basin. If the states are unwilling to refer powers necessary for the effective national management of the system by mid-2012, a Coalition Government will call a referendum to refer these powers.
“The failure of governments to agree to action to save the river cannot be allowed to continue. We will give Australians the opportunity to bring about management of the Basin in the national interest even if State governments won’t.
“With the Commonwealth clearly in charge, we will urgently re-plumb the basin, allowing our farmers to produce more with less, while returning water savings as critical environmental flows to restore the environmental health, the economic health and the human health of the Murray Darling Basin.
“I still hope the current Government comes to its senses and addresses the flaws in its approach to national management, however, if they continue to fail, the Coalition will deliver.”