Cotton Australia is appalled the Australian Senate has tonight voted to abandon Northern Basin communities, costing them jobs and reducing river health.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young had moved a Disallowance Motion to overturn recommendations by the Murray Darling Basin Authority to reduce by 70 gigalitres (Gl) the water recovery target for the Northern Basin within the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The Motion was passed with the support of the Labor Party and some of the cross-bench.
“Tonight the Senate threw common sense out the window and gave in to environmental extremism, while at the same time delivering economic and social uncertainty to communities in the Murray Darling Basin,” says Cotton Australian General Manager, Michael Murray.
“And Labor, the architects of the review - inserted when Tony Burke was Minister - has supported the Greens and thrown the bipartisan nature of the Plan out the window.”
“The Greens’ Disallowance Motion has sealed a bleak fate for the Murray Darling Basin, its people and communities, who have every reason to be outraged and dismayed at the politics that have led to this point.”
“Based on the modelling by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, communities in the Northern Basin can expect to suffer the loss of 180 jobs as a result of this Motion, a devastating blow for small towns.”
“Perversely, the Disallowance Motion will result in one less environmental target being met, and has removed the incentive for the Commonwealth, NSW and Queensland Governments to invest in complementary measures to leverage even further gains for the environment.”
“Perhaps even more importantly, we can now expect both the Victorian and NSW Governments to withdraw their commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, as they had indicated they would over the past week.”
“The Murray Darling Basin Plan took years of hard work and compromise to finalise but, eventually, was able to strike a balance between protecting the environment and communities within the Basin. The Plan had been on track to accomplish its goals, but now it’s dead in the water, and the fate of the environment and Basin communities is in doubt.”
“Tonight, numerous Senators supporting the Disallowance Motion vowed they were committed to delivering the Basin Plan in full. And yet, the Northern Basin Review has always been an integral part of the Plan, so it is very disingenuous to say they support delivering the Plan in full and while ignoring the recommendations of a three-year Review conducted by the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority and support this Disallowance Motion.”
“While I am not surprised that Senator Hanson-Young is so misguided to believe supporting the amendments would somehow reward ‘greedy, corporate irrigators’, she has completely missed the fact that the real losers from this decision will be the communities of the Northern Basin, from Warren to St George and all those communities in between.”
“I don’t know where the Plan will go from here, it is just so disappointing that the bipartisan nature of the Plan to date has been shattered today, and it remains to be seen whether it can be recovered.”
Mr Murray says Cotton Australia thanked the Government for opposing the Disallowance Motion and, in particular, those cross-bench Senators who took the opportunity to really understand the issues and voted against it.
Cotton Australia is the peak representative body for Australia’s cotton growing industry.
Cotton Australia media contacts:
General Manager, Cotton Australia
0427 707 868