The Rudd Government’s continuing failure to achieve effective national management of the Murray Darling Basin has today been highlighted by the Productivity Commission, newly appointed Coalition spokesman Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
The Productivity Commission today released its Draft Report on Market Mechanisms for Recovering Water in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“The Government’s failings and half baked compromises have today been highlighted by the Productivity Commission,” Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray Darling Basin Simon Birmingham said.
“The Commission has highlighted the inability of the Rudd Government to have the Victorian Government lift its restrictions on water trade, specifically its 4 per cent cap on ‘out-of-area’ trade.
“The Commission has also highlighted the subsequent failure of the Commonwealth to ensure the actions of the New South Wales Government don’t impede national management.”
“… the continued application of the 4 per cent annual cap on trade of entitlements out of an irrigation area is seriously distorting markets and the options open to DEWHA in conducting the buyback … Similarly, the agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments to constrain the sale of NSW-based entitlements to the Commonwealth … unnecessarily constrains the buyback. While this arrangement is far less binding than the Victorian agreement, it too should be removed.”
“The result of these constraints is that the buyback of water entitlements is less efficient, with a higher burden placed on the other Basin States, namely Queensland and South Australia,” Senator Birmingham said.
“It is high time Minister Wong took responsibility for solving these failings rather than allowing Basin States to play them out through the legal system while the Murray Darling system suffers the consequences.”