Further delays in finalising a Murray-Darling Basin Plan are a direct result of Labor’s mismanagement and will only prolong uncertainty for Basin communities, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
It follows reported indications from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s chief executive that the already delayed process could be pushed out to 2012.
“If Labor hadn’t already botched the Basin reform process as badly as it has, there’d be no need to extend the uncertainty for justifiably concerned communities,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Labor delayed this process from the outset by taking 18 months to even appoint the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and we’ve already seen delays in releasing just the Guide to the proposed Basin Plan.
“Labor has fuelled angst in Basin communities by failing to ensure the Water Act was correctly interpreted, failing to ensure the necessary socio-economic analysis was undertaken and failing to develop any plan on how water savings will be achieved.
“Having so far got it so wrong, it is no surprise to see more time needed to get it right, but a Labor-Greens alliance will never be able to deal with this issue.
“A balanced approach is crucial to achieving Basin reform, but a Gillard Government saddled with the Greens will never achieve that balance.
“Instead, we risk them simply playing for time, to the detriment of all who aspire to see a sustainable outcome for the rivers and communities of the Murray-Darling.
“Today marks four years since Prime Minister Howard’s Melbourne Cup Day emergency summit to deal with a drought affected Murray-Darling Basin Plan, ultimately leading to the $10 billion Howard-Turnbull plan.
“Labor has spent more than three years in office wrecking the Basin reform process. They should hang their heads in shame.”