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National plan for water security rudderless.



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Tue, 18th March 2008 NATIONAL PLAN FOR WATER SECURITY RUDDERLESS

The Hon John Cobb MP Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Water Security

The situation in the Murray Darling Basin is now so dire, the Prime Minister and the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) Premiers' must act now, Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Water Security, John Cobb said today.

Mr Cobb said Kevin Rudd and the MDB Premiers should knock some sense into Premier Brumby until Victoria signs up to the National Water Plan.

''Clearly Minister Wong is out of her depth. She has failed to get the Victorian's to sign up to the National Water Plan and is now breaking the law and her Ministerial responsibilities.''

Mr Cobb said Kevin Rudd has stated that water is a number one priority. Four months after being elected his 'number one's' are turning into 'number two's'!

''The Water Act 2007, set to restore the health of the Murray Darling Basin came into 3rd of March, 2008.

''Minister Wong is now breaking the law and her Ministerial responsibilities by; 1) Ignoring the Act - no Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

2) No Authority - no Basin Plans

3) No Authority - no new Water Trading arrangements

4) No Authority - no measuring and monitoring water data

5) No Authority - No Environmental Water Holder Mr Cobb said he was gravely concerned about the legality of the Minister's actions.

''Either through incompetence or ignorance Minister Wong is breaching the Water Act 2007. As a result the only thing raining in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) was confusion.

''Under the Water Act 2007, the Murray Darling Basin Authority has been tasked with devising the Water Plans for the entire Basin. These plans are vital for all of the subsequent operations of the National Plan for Water Security. (see attached).

''The MDBA is tasked with drawing up the plans and is the engine room of the entire Murray Darling Basin Plan. Under the Water Act 2007 without the establishment of the MDBA of the nothing can happen.

''The entire National Plan for Water Security which was supported by the Labor Party is premised on the establishment of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

''The Government's plan to amalgamate the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Murray Darling Basin Commission, this will lead to further long delays in action because new Legislation will need to be passed through Parliament.

''Minister Wong's ignorance of water matters in the MDB is frightening - she is has now authorised a $50 million buy back of 20 gigalitres of water.

''At the same time the Victorian Labor Party is going to pipe 110 gigalitres of water from the Basin to use in Melbourne, fiver times as much water as Minister Wong is planning to buy and put back in the system!!!

''The only thing the Labor Party has done is to give Melbourne higher security water than the people of Adelaide despite the fact Melbourne isn't even in the MDB.

Mr Cobb said Rudd needs to take charge immediately and address the crisis confronting the Murray Darling Basin communities.