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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10230


Senator STORER (South Australia) (12:17): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1374 relating to the Murray-Darling Basin and standing in my name for today by replacing the word 'adopt' in paragraph (b)(i) with the words 'immediately respond' and adding the words 'and the Productivity Commission's review of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan' to the end of the sentence.

Leave granted.

Senator STORER: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Murray-Darling Basin needs more water to ensure its survival, the latest evidence of this being the fish-kills at Menindee Lakes,

(ii) the management of the Murray-Darling Basin requires urgent reform,

(iii) the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission delivered its findings on 29 January 2019, including recommendations to:

(A) improve transparency by 'requiring real-time data sharing and publication on water extractions',

(B) abolish the water buybacks cap of 1500 gigalitres, and

(C) undertake further research into return flows so that we know the effects of irrigation efficiency projects, and

(iv) the Productivity Commission delivered its findings to the Federal Government on 19 December 2018, pointing out that:

(A) the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's twin roles as overseer of the Plan and its regulator are 'conflicted and the conflicts will intensity in the next five years', and

(B) structural separation of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority into a Basin Plan Regulator and Murray-Darling Basin Agency is required to ensure effective implementation of the Plan; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) immediately respond to each and every recommendation proposed by the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission's review of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and

(ii) proceed with the structural separation of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, as proposed by the Productivity Commission.