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Thursday, 15 February 2018 14:22

MDB plan stalls

The Murray Darling Basin Plan faces an uncertain future following a decision by Federal Labor to side with the Greens in voting to disallow a proposal to free up water earmarked for the 'environment'.

Rice Growers Australia has accused Labor of betraying the people of the Murray Darling Basin while, at the same time, short-changing the environment. 
"In what could only be described as an act of political bastardry, Labor has sided with the Greens to disallow the Northern Basin Review amendment," according to RGA president Jeremy Morton.
Morton said the betrayal by Labor for political expediency just left him feeling sick to the core.
"This decision makes all of us wonder why we bother to work in good faith on extremely difficult reforms like the Basin Plan only to return to the law of the jungle when political opportunity presents," he said.
"To have Labor put politics ahead of science is simply astounding.”
The decision was taken despite firm commitments from the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to withdraw from the process.
"The way forward is unclear and has thrown reform weary communities under a political bus," he said. 
“We commend Ministers Niall Blair and Lisa Neville for their clear and unequivocal statement on what a successful disallowance would mean.
"Withdrawing from the implementation of the plan has significant and profound implications for both Government’s and their basin communities.
"There is a glimmer of hope that common sense will prevail and the Northern Basin Review amendment can occur later this year.
"The SDL adjustment also needs to be considered by parliament in May.
“While the significance of the disallowance cannot be understated, the Labor Party has an opportunity to work with the Government to get the Plan back on track.
"We urge Labor to keep the door open and find a way to allow the NBR amendments to occur and commit to allowing passage of the SDL adjustment amendments."

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