Federal Members representing communities along the Murray Darling Basin as well as members of the Coalition’s Agriculture Backbench Committee will hold a town hall meeting in Mildura on Tuesday, October 3 to discuss the Albanese Labor Government’s proposed amendments to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
The meeting, from 4pm at the Alfred Deakin Centre Benetook Room, 190 Deakin Avenue Mildura, will be hosted by Member for Mallee Anne Webster as part of a week-long tour of the basin by Members and Senators.
“Past buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin have reduced the amount of irrigation in Sunraysia, which in turn shrinks the economy, jobs and therefore demand for flow on businesses,” Dr Webster said.
“This is why we oppose Labor Water Minister Tanya Plibersek’s Bill to amend the Murray Darling Basin Plan and bring back wholesale buybacks by scrapping the cap previously in place. Buybacks don’t just hurt horticulture, they make our towns smaller. While the Coalition was in government, we imposed restrictions to ensure buybacks didn’t hurt river communities by ensuring the socio-economic neutrality test, so that any water purchases could not have a negative effect on the community.
“The Albanese Labor Government wants to throw those safeguards out of the window before the end of the year.”
Dr Webster urged members of the community to come to the meeting and share their views.
“We want to hear from locals about the impact of water buybacks in the past, and risks if they resume in our district, Dr Webster said.
“The amount of water that the Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek is seeking to buy across the Basin is the equivalent of the total amount drawn annually by the entire Sunraysia irrigation area and once that water leaves irrigation economies, it will not return. We need a show of force so the Government cannot keep ignoring our communities who rely so heavily on the Murray Darling Basin.”
Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Water Minister Perin Davey, who will attend the Mildura meeting, said: “these meetings will be an invaluable opportunity to listen and understand the impacts these legislative changes could have on communities in the Murray-Darling Basin.
“The discussions, concerns, and insights raised will greatly help shape and inform our stance on the Water Act Amendments and help us argue the case for communities in the Parliament.”
To register for the meeting go to https://forms.gle/eGxLkiCQChJyFXGZ8