Divisions within South Australian Labor on Murray-Darling Basin reform are now spreading into federal Labor, putting at risk the entire reform process, Coalition Murray-Darling Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
“Premier Weatherill’s threats to challenge the Basin Plan in the High Court have been rejected by most SA federal Labor MPs, who have told The Advertiser they instead support the process their federal Labor Government is currently implementing.
“Jay Weatherill’s desire to put courtroom challenges and politicking ahead of finally achieving national management of the Murray risks derailing the Basin Plan process, with upstream states walking away and South Australia being left with nothing.
“Labor MP Amanda Rishworth appears well aware of the risk Premier Weatherill poses to Basin reform, saying “Standing up for SA is important but having no national plan is a bad outcome for SA.”
“However, Weatherill’s approach is opening up divisions in federal Labor too, with Senator Anne McEwen affirming “I support Jay Weatherill’s campaign” while her factional foe Senator Don Farrell “will be supporting what the Federal Government is planning.”
“Getting Basin reform right is too important for Labor to play political games. South Australia’s state and federal Labor MPs need to put politics aside and speak with one voice in favour of a strong, balanced Basin Plan developed by an independent national authority.”
“South Australians have spent 120 years arguing that a river system crossing five jurisdictions deserves national management. It is amazing that South Australia’s current Labor Premier is now jeopardising national management of the Murray-Darling when it finally is within reach.”