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MDBA Chair resigns because of government spin

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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 


MDBA Chair resigns because of government spin

Monday, December 06, 2010

Mike Taylor, a well respected public servant with years of valuable service, has been forced to resign as chair of the MDBA because the government is intent on spinning their way out of trouble instead of being truthful with the Australian people about Murray Darling basin reforms.

This government does not believe its position of optimising social, economic and environment it is just spin to diffuse anger amongst the rural communities before they are hit with the final Basin Plan. A basin plan, that will be negotiated with the greens as part of their minority government deal, which will close down basin communities and let large amounts of water run out to sea.

The Prime Minister and the Water Minister have stated that the Water Act allows optimisation of the social, economic and environment. However, this directly conflicts with the Authority who has sought, and obtained, further legal advice that it cannot compromise the minimum level of water required to restore the system's environment on social or economic grounds.

On 28 October the Coalition moved a motion in the Senate to include in the Parliamentary inquiry an investigation of any ambiguity in the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 which may prevent the delivery of a triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental outcomes. Unfortunately Labour and the Greens joined to defeat the motion.

Why aren’t they examining this in either of the parliamentary inquiries set up to examine the basin water reforms?

What has this government got to hide?

I am appalled that the government has bungled this so badly creating enormous uncertainty for Basin communities on their knees after 10 years of drought and now floods and locusts.

The Coalition is committed to delivering a vibrant future to the basin communities by balance social and economic considerations of basin communities with the environmental requirements of the Basin. If the Water Act can’t deliver that it needs to be changed.

There are two million people in the basin, over half of which depend upon or have direct links to the rivers. Under the Coalition’s $10 billion National Plan for Water Security, any reductions in water needed to make the basin more sustainable was to be first achieved by $5.8 billion of investment to increase productivity to offset any water reductions. This was to ensure that there would be minimal impact on the local communities, Australia’s productive capacity and food prices. Instead Labor is intent on buying the water from desperate sellers and not

investing in the Basin communities.

The Government has been negligent in allowing the authority to develop a plan which conflicts with the Coalitions National Plan for water security and the National water Initiative. The community’s trust in the Green Labor government has been shattered.

Contact: Richard Hyett - 0487 250 005