Acting Prime Minister Gillard and Premiers Rann and Keneally must give Murray Darling Basin officials in-principle approval to release emergency floodwater for downstream communities today, according to Coalition Murray Darling spokesman Simon Birmingham.
The Basin Officials Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the floodwaters about to flow into the Menindee Lakes. This committee, comprising officials from each basin state, will play a key role in determining whether some of those waters continue down the Darling into the Murray.
“It is clear that the Acting Prime Minister must come to an in-principle agreement on the sharing of floodwaters with Premiers Rann and Keneally today, before the Basin Officials Committee meets,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“The Basin Officials need riding instructions from their political masters, indicating support for a fair sharing of the floodwaters. A failure to provide those instructions will heighten the risk failure at the meeting of officials.
“The political will for a fair flow of floodwaters must be demonstrated today so that officials can plan accordingly tomorrow.
“If an agreement cannot be reached by this deadline then Labor’s claim before the last election that “Federal Labor is about working in partnership with the State Governments to end the blame game” will be proven a hollow fraud.
“The time for action is now – delay on a decision to release floodwaters will not only be a humiliation for Premier Rann, but a repudiation of the Acting Prime Minister and of national management of the Murray Darling Basin by Premier Keneally.”