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Another Murray-Darling misstep from Labor

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Senator Barnaby Joyce 

Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water  Leader of the Nationals in the Senate  Senator for Queensland 

Another Murray-Darling misstep from Labor

December 13, 2010 12:47

Reports today indicate that it could cost the government an additional $5 billion to buy the water rights outlined in the Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin.

This is a completely uncosted, budget blow-out for the Labor party. In the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Labor allocated only $310 million a year to bridge this gap.[1] At that rate, it will take until 2030 before all of the water is bought back.

This is just another example of Labor's "cloak and dagger" approach to the Murray-Darling. It is time they come clean and do proper costings of their election commitments and release all the legal advice about the Water Act.

They are either hiding things from the public or they don't know the answers. They seem to be stumbling along and making it up as they go along and the Minister doesn't seem to even understand his own Act.

Labor won't even agree to investigate ambiguities in the Act despite concerns being raised by the Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Mike Taylor, Professors George Williams and Judith Sloan and the Productivity Commission.

Labor's approach to the Murray-Darling is turning into absolute disaster. You may forgive an opening batsman a few plays and misses early in the innings, but Labor’s innings in the Murray-Darling is becoming like an imitation of a human fan, all swing and no contact.

It makes you wonder whether anything will be resolved with this line up.

[1] Australian Government, MYEFO 2010-11, p. 217,