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Labor's Murray-Darling announcement already raising questions

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Senator Barnaby Joyce

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

Labor's Murray-Darling announcement already raising questions

Today's announcement from Julia Gillard and Tony Burke for more money towards the

Murray-Darling is an ambit announcement for an ambit claim from an ambit government.

This morning on ABC's AM Tony Burke refused to guarantee that all of the new money

would be spent on infrastructure investments.

Alexandra Kirk: So where will the extra water come from?

Tony Burke: It will largely be the efficiencies we get out of on-farm infrastructure


What does “largely” mean and do I need to consult the Oxford Dictionary or the new post-modern Macquarie Dictionary to find out?

This is because regional towns will be “largely” unhappy if you reduce their economic

base. We must maintain our ability to grow food and keep Australian jobs in food

production. If we are growing 100 acres of tomatoes today, then I want Australians to

maintain that 100 acres. If it drops to 80 acres, then an analogy of the outcome is that a

10 room motel goes to an eight room motel, and the $200,000 house that a couple have

paid off turns into the $160,000 house. That is not acceptable.

Tony Burke has to answer today exactly how he will commit to only recover new water in a

way that does not cause social and economic harm. How will those guarantees be given

to the 2.1 million Australians who live in the Basin? They have been dudded so many

times before; they need more than a promise about spending other people's money

borrowed from overseas in the future.

Ever since the Prime Minister promised to turn Australia into the food bowl of Asia she

cannot point to one part of Australia where she has been responsible for increasing our

agricultural output.

It is just another rhetorical statement like here is a promise for $1.7 billion out to 2024.

26th October 2012

For further information, contact Matthew Canavan, 0458 709 433