Water Minister Penny Wong has pointedly refused to say that no-one in her Government has seen the draft Basin Plan prepared by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
The Basin Plan is expected to propose sustainable diversion limits, but its release has been delayed until after the election by the independent Authority, itself only appointed by Minister Wong after months and months of delay.
“Unlike the Coalition with our detailed policy document, Labor has released no policy on the Murray-Darling Basin – just a couple of media releases with an uncosted open cheque book based on the supposedly as yet unseen Basin Plan,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Penny Wong has today reiterated that she hasn’t seen the Basin Plan, but is choosing her words carefully, avoiding saying whether she has been briefed on its contents and refusing to say whether anyone in the Government has seen the Plan.
“It is deeply suspicious that Senator Wong, despite repeated opportunities, refused to say that no-one in Government has seen the Plan.”
Senator Wong’s point blank refusals were delivered during today’s live interview for the AdelaideNow website.
Kelly Nestor: “Has anyone in Government seen the Plan?”
Penny Wong: “This is an independent authority, Kelly…”
Kelly Nestor: “Has anyone in Government seen the plan?”
Penny Wong: “The authority would have seen what they’re doing, but they are independent of us…”
Kelly Nestor: “So you can say that nobody in Government has seen the plan?”
Penny Wong: “What I can say is I have not seen it and that the Authority has made its independent decision…”
Kelly Nestor: “Obviously you’ve got an idea of what’s in the Plan. Someone in Government must know a little bit more.”
Penny Wong: “But Kelly, can I just say, I can’t speak for the Authority…”
“Australians are sick of Labor’s empty promises, game playing and lack of real action for the Murray.
“People want straight answers and, with just three days of this election campaign to go, they want to know what is planned for the future. Senator Wong’s clever word games and evasiveness are typical of a Government with something to hide.
“Senator Wong should come clean and state clearly whether anyone in her Government has seen the draft Plan or been briefed on its contents. If so, she must explain why they have refused to take Australians into their confidence.”