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15    Environment— Murray-Darling Basin Plan—Water purchases—Order for production of documents

Senator Patrick, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 579—That—

               (a)       the Senate notes that:

                                     (i)       the Murray-Darling river system is a national resource,

                                    (ii)       the aim of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, agreed to in 2012, is to ensure that water is shared between all users, including the environment, in a sustainable way,

                                  (iii)       it is important that the plan is executed effectively and with financial responsibility,

                                  (iv)       on 26 October 2017, the Guardian revealed that the Government had purchased 22 megalitres of water at a price of $78 million in circumstances where there were independent valuations for the same water of $24.8 million (an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences valuation) and $38 million (Herron Todd White valuation), and

                                   (v)       the Senate has an obligation to inform itself as to whether taxpayers’ money being spent on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is being spent efficiently and effectively; and

               (b)       there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, by the start of business on 28 November 2017:

                                     (i)       all decisions and associated decision reasoning for all purchases of water across the Basin from 1 January 2017, and

                                    (ii)       all valuations/assessments in the Government’s possession related to each of these purchases, including independent valuations/assessments.

Question put and passed.