Labor has once again failed to deliver on Murray Darling Basin reform, with delays to the release of the proposed Basin Plan creating yet more uncertainty for everyone.
Labor has massively underspent and under-delivered on budgeted water saving infrastructure throughout its term, failing to deliver priority water saving infrastructure programs and failing to meet targets for on-farm efficiency investments.
It’s just another page from the Labor Party ‘lack of action’ text book. Despite promising to spend $5.8 billion on water technologies they’ve spent only $300 million. It’s another example of the Labor Party ‘moving forward’ while the forgotten are left behind.
Now Labor has failed to deliver the draft basin plan and the blame lies at Labor’s feet.
If it hadn’t taken Penny Wong 18 months to appoint the Chair and Members of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) the draft Basin Plan could have been released well before the election.
The Water Act establishing the MDBA was passed by the former Coalition Government in 2007, yet Penny Wong failed to get the Authority off the ground until May 2009.
Because of Labor’s lack of action the MDBA has been running late in developing the Basin Plan ever since.
Whether people are motivated by securing environmental flows or securing future food production they have a right to be disappointed by Labor’s delays and failures.
The Coalition believes that the most important focus must be on getting the plan right to deliver sustainability for both our rivers and our food producers.
The independence of the MDBA is central to this. They should release any advice relied upon to make this decision to delay and they, along with Penny Wong, should guarantee that there was no political interference in the decision.