Reports today that Water Minister Tony Burke and Finance Minister Senator Wong have attacked those playing politics with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan provide a sharp rebuke of South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill.
Water Minister Tony Burke has warned that any MPs who vote against his plan for the Murray-Darling Basin will be held responsible for an environmental disaster if it fails to pass the parliament.
This came yesterday as Finance Minister Penny Wong, a South Australian senator and former water minister, criticised the Greens and Labor Premier Jay Weatherill over a motion they had championed in the Senate for a minimum 4000 gigalitres of water to be returned to the river system for environmental needs.
The Australian online, 22 August 2012
“Labor’s divisions have exposed that some are putting politics ahead of good policy in the debate over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” Coalition Murray-Darling Basin spokesman Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
“The likes of Jay Weatherill have done their best to destroy confidence in this important reform process, already plagued by Federal Labor’s delays, mis-starts, unrealistic promises and failure to deliver on key infrastructure projects.
“Tony Burke and Penny Wong have until now all but stood idly by as this damage was done but I welcome their long overdue move now to slap down Mr Weatherill’s irresponsible approach.
“It has been clear for a long time that the South Australian state Labor Government has been more interested in posturing than in actually achieving an outcome for the Murray-Darling.
“Penny Wong is absolutely right when she says posturing for the river won’t actually deliver. I hope Jay Weatherill will accept the advice of his long time Labor friend and colleague.
“While I would expect every state government to stand up for their state’s interests, the extreme rhetoric deployed by Jay Weatherill has damaged public confidence in this process and prompted retaliations from upstream states, all of which hurts the chances of getting the best possible outcome.”