TONY PASIN MP
MEMBER FOR BARKER
ASSISTANT SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT
PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION INTERIM REPORT BACKS IN BASIN COMMUNITIES
The Productivity Commission’s interim report into the implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan released yesterday has prompted Member for Barker Tony Pasin to call for a pause on recovering the additional 450GL of water under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“It’s been blatantly apparent for some time that the goal for the Labor Party is to transfer the 450GL regardless of the consequences for regional communities, cost of living impacts on Aussie households or a full understanding of the environmental benefits. This report backs serves as further evidence of this,” Mr Pasin said.
The report states that water purchased by the Australian Government to meet commitments under the Basin Plan has had negative socio-economic impacts on some Basin communities and that while larger and more diverse regional centres in the Basin have largely adjusted to less water, there have been negative socio-economic flow-on effects in small irrigation dependent communities.
The report also says that some Basin communities saw agricultural employment fall rapidly, without offsetting growth in other employment areas.
“Basin communities in SA don’t need the Productivity Commission to tell them this. They’ve lived it first hand and seen the job losses, the money leave town and the small businesses close,” said Mr Pasin.
“The Labor Party know it too. That’s why State and Federal Labor Government’s agreed to create a new classification of water recovery under the 450GL target, against which the social and economic test will not apply.”
To add salt to the wound, Productivity Commission’s interim report also tells us that some of the environmental benefits of the additional water 450GL are contingent on the delivery of constraints easing projects.
“The 450GL only delivers additional environmental benefit if constraints can be dealt with. Without that you are just dribbling water down the system with no additional environmental benefit.”
“Chasing the 450GL before understanding what water recovery is required under the baseline targets is putting the cart before the horse,” Mr Pasin said.
“Furthermore, the fact that the Minister Susan Close continues to lecture that buybacks have not and will not adversely impact irrigation communities is astonishing and quite frankly insulting. Particularly in light of the Productivity Commissions interim report that says the opposite.”
“Federal Labor is taking River communities for fools and the South Australian Minister is embarrassingly out of her depth,” Mr Pasin said.
“Labor needs to get their priorities right. Stop implementing policies to chase city votes and start doing what’s right by our regional communities, and in turn our nations best interests,” Mr Pasin said.