The Albanese Government has announced it is opening a water tender process for buybacks in the Southern Connected Murray-Darling Basin for 70 gigalitres, including from SA, yet can’t identify specific recovery targets from each catchment.

While the documents indicate SA water holders are eligible to partake in this process, areas with a high concentration of network customers are excluded, leaving many Riverland water holders scratching their heads as to whether they are in or out.

What is clear is that money won’t flow to sellers any time soon, with an initial EOI process to commence in August/September 2024 but purchases won’t occur until mid-2025.

At the Australian Local Government Assembly in Canberra last week a motion was passed calling on the Albanese Government to reject a system of open market buybacks and instead put communities at the heart of any water recovery plans to cushion the socio-economic damage that buy backs will inevitably cause.

Conversely, Labor’s open market EOI process risks creating a race to the bottom, leaving water holders and communities worse off.

Labor has left Riverland wine grape growers to wither on the vine with little to no financial support to assist in restructuring the industry.

And now, as if to rub salt in the wound, the Albanese Labor Government is using an opaque and confusing system to remove water at the lowest price possible.

This is yet another example of the Albanese Labor Government treating regional communities with contempt.

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