Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP says legislative amendments introduced into Parliament last week to weaken the social and economic protections for Basin communities runs contrary to the national interest and is a cynical effort by the Labor Government to win metropolitan votes at the expense of Australian farmers and irrigation communities.


“It’s blatantly apparent that the goal for the Labor Party is to transfer the 450GL regardless of the consequences for regional communities or cost of living impacts on Aussie households,” Mr Pasin said.


The amendments introduced are at odds with the intent of the Basin Plan originally agreed to by all sides of politics in 2012 to deliver a Basin Plan which delivers environmental outcomes without destroying the fabric of Basin communities.


“By creating a new classification of water recovery under the 450GL target, against which the social and economic test will not apply, Labor is effectively admitting that buybacks hurt communities but are pushing ahead regardless, prioritising arbitrary numbers over environmental outcomes and city votes over the future of regional communities and the wellbeing of rural Australians,” Mr Pasin said.


“The fact that Susan Close can’t even be bothered to get economic modelling done before agreeing to the new plan is proof enough that the South Australian Labor Government have no interest in looking after our irrigators. The fact that she fails to understand how reducing the productive pool of water available will push the price of remaining water up is simply embarrassing,” Mr Pasin said.


The Victorian Government undertook economic modelling and found that water prices have risen significantly (by an average of $72 per ML) due to water recovery from the consumptive pool, and that significant social and economic impacts can be expected if changes are made to allow large volumes of water recovery from the consumptive pool to recover an additional 450GL.


The Victorian modelling also showed that the economic impact would be expected to be in the excess of $500 million annually in terms of the gross value of foregone irrigated production across the southern MDB.


The Victorian Government has not agreed to the new Plan.


“It’s outrageous that Susan Close cant tell us what impact it will have for South Australian’s. It’s incompetent and contemptuous,” Mr Pasin said.


“It’s blatant politicking that will be to the detriment of Basin communities and the food and fibre they produce. The economic impacts of taking water out of productive use will not only hurt local communities but will reverberate throughout the state and the nation as we see further increases to our grocery bills as a result.”


“Tanya Plibersek and Susan Close are selling our irrigators and their irrigation communities up the river at a time when Australian can least afford it,” Mr Pasin said.


“We’ve seen a disgraceful lack of consultation with affected communities from State and Federal Labor Government’s. Our basin communities deserve a Senate Inquiry to directly engage with and hear the concerns firsthand, this would be in stark contrast to Labor Ministers standing on the banks of the River Torrens in Adelaide to announce a policy that will decimate river communities,” Mr Pasin said.


“When Adelaide households are wondering why they can no longer purchase Aussie grown fresh fruit in the shops they can think back to that press conference on the banks of the River Torrens as the beginning of the end for our Basin communities and their farmers,” Mr Pasin said.


Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730