Basin Plan Backlash

Federal member for Parkes, Mark Coulton didn’t hide his disdain for the Albanese Governments’ Murray Darling Basin Buyback Plan, saying he is appalled by what he calls, the “Labor government stripping mechanisms out of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

“My communities have already been gutted by this before, and this is not my first rodeo when it comes to water. I will not take this lying down,” Mr Coulton said.

The Minister went on to say with safeguards removed, indiscriminate water buybacks are likely to be the result. He hit out at a perceived lack of consultation, and urged the Government to visit affected communities to find out what happens when buybacks occur.

Federal Minster for Water and Environment, Tanya Plibersek, hit back on a recent visit to Broken Hill saying the Parkes MP was categorically wrong.

“I like and respect Mark Coulton, but he is wrong about this,” Minister Plibersek told the Barrier Truth.

Ms Plibersek went on to outline how in the ten years the Government were in charge they only achieved two gigalitres out of the 450 gigalitres target.

“If we kept going at the pace of the previous government, we would finalise the Murray Basin Plan somewhere around the year 4000,” Ms Plibersek said, before adding, “as we go into the next hot, dry period we need the flexibility of using water that’s been recovered to avoid the worst impacts of the drought.”

Mr Coulton clarified for the Barrier Truth, saying, “My main concern is that water purchased in the Northern Basin will move through Menindee, but probably won’t stay there because it’s destined to go further down to the lower lakes, to keep the mouth of the Murray open.”

The Federal Member for Parkes also praised Minister Plibersek for visiting Menindee, but questioned why she was there after the legislation had passed.

“I’m glad she’s there talking to the people of Menindee. But having said that, she’s there after the legislation is passed by the House of representatives, so when you go out there after it’s happened, it’s more explaining rather than consulting,” Mr Coulton told the Truth.

Ms Plibersek said she went to Menindee to meet locals to hear their ideas on how the Menindee Lakes system should be managed.

“I want to hear from them directly. And I’ve been doing meetings like this right across the Murray-Darling basin, from Queensland to South Australia and everywhere in between,” Ms Plibersek told the Truth.

The buyback plan is scheduled for senate review, and given the Greens’ majority in the upper house, the legislation faces further hurdles before approval.

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