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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7844

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (12:20): I indicate that, obviously, we support this amendment. This is an important amendment in the context of ensuring that there is no ambiguity in how the Regional Investment Corporation will operate in the context of water policy and that the Water Act will not in any way be affected by this and, in particular, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and sustainable diversion limits. The amendment is self-evident. Senator Ruston has alluded to productive discussions that I've had with her and the Deputy Prime Minister in respect of this. I believe this is a belts-and-braces approach, to put it colloquially, to ensure there is no ambiguity in terms of the impact of any water projects funded under the Regional Investment Corporation legislation. It will provide strong guarantees in directions in terms of the Murray-Darling Basin, that it must be transparent and that responsible ministers within the basin receive advice. That includes the Minister for Water and the River Murray in South Australia, the Hon. Ian Hunter, who has a strong interest in these issues as well. I have spoken to the honourable Mr Hunter in the last 36 hours about the need for this.

I may ask one question of the minister just so that it's on the record. It's something I have discussed with departmental officers. Does this amendment give rights of judicial review to those who have standing to ensure that it is complied with? In other words, we're not just saying that this must be complied with; can it actually be enforced through a judicial review process?