Letters to the Editor

Greens ideology will ruin Basin Plan

A couple of months have passed since Federal Labor teamed up with the Greens to vote against important amendments to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

It was a vote that dismissed a four-year Northern Basin Review and mothballed $180 million of environmental projects.

Labor and Greens Senators put political point scoring ahead of practical, common-sense policy, and in doing so made the Basin Plan untenable for NSW. The hard-fought bi-partisan agreements that have been key to making the Basin Plan work have been undermined, and substantial work is needed to rebuild them.

The Senate’s decision to impose further environmental water recovery on northern NSW

farmers and communities was plainly ridiculous at the time, and it is even more so now, as many in regional NSW deal with even lower water availability.

Neither Labor nor the Greens were able to put forward any coherent objection to the Northern Basin Review itself, instead suggesting NSW was not serious about water compliance.

A reliable water compliance framework is vital for everyone in NSW, which is why we have taken important steps to address compliance issues with the establishment of the Natural Resource Access Regulator.

The new regulator is on track to be operational at the end of this month and while it is finding its feet, we are getting on with other important reforms to environmental water management, information transparency and water metering.

Just last week we completed a three-week consultation road show and based on the feedback we have received, we intend to introduce legislation to Parliament later this year.

While all this is going on, we have not forgotten about the importance of collaborating across Governments to achieve the outcomes sought in the Basin Plan.

Earlier this week we teamed up with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to ensure their flow release finds its way from the dams in the Northern Basin all the way, hopefully, to the Menindee Lakes.

But for the ideological Greens, the outcomes don’t matter, and they dismissed the environmental water release as a ‘stunt’.

Just this week the NSW Greens stated in a water wish-list, that they support progressive reductions in water availability for irrigation. Given their cosy working relationship with Labor at a State and Federal level, we can only assume NSW Labor will adopt the same ideology.

Next month, once again, the Greens will be putting ideology ahead of good policy, with another Senate disallowance motion to be debated.

It seems they will do everything they can to sink the important SDL Adjustment by discrediting the work being delivered right across NSW and the projects we have put forward.

However the adjustment mechanism was built into the original Basin Plan agreement, and the projects are all about underpinning a healthy river environment by using water more efficiently – a win for the environment and a win for farmers and regional communities.

The NSW Government put forward concept proposals and we have received feedback from the MDBA on where they can be improved. We welcome this feedback and we are working to resolve any issues they have highlighted.

All Basin states have until 2024 to ensure the projects are designed and implemented in a way that achieves the water savings.

The challenge for NSW is how to achieve the environmental outcomes intended in the Basin Plan in the face of uncertainty created by the Senate.

A number of the deliverables under the Basin Plan have been put at risk, including the 22 water resource plans we are developing across the state.

There are also a number of significant outstanding questions, such as how the Basin Plan achieves true environmental outcomes without any focus on complementary environmental measures, such as fish passage.

We said we would walk away from the Basin Plan and we will do just that, unless the uncertainty created by the Senate is addressed.

I am hopeful this will occur, with a new government in South Australia and Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud working hard in Canberra to reach an agreement with all stakeholders.

However, while this uncertainty persists the Basin Plan agreement is broken for NSW and the role of Ministerial Council completely undermined.

And for that we can thank Green zealotry, with a dose of Labor political science.

Niall Blair, NSW Minister for Regional Water

Three letter words

For someone is an octogenarian one finds it hard to recognise an initial with the organisation that it represents such as TRECC, TRLX, AELEC or other such as Bupa, Dom DFAT, TFSS, ACM,  SUV. The first three could be music halls, saleyards and horsey joints.

However when someone is driving a tiny FIAT (Fix it again tony) and tail gated by a forty tone truck with a three letter name its possibly best one doesn’t know what it represents. 

Colin Macpherson

At a community carers forum today there were people from a number of related medical and carers groups, some politicians but also a representative from the LGBTQI support and protection services. It seems sad and that the world has a long way to go when there is need for such services - especially protection.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne