Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Minister for Water Melinda Pavey today demanded changes to existing operations, rules and sharing arrangements of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Mr Barilaro said NSW has no more water to give and the Federal Government has nowhere left to turn and must respond to these concerns and implement changes.
“We simply can no longer stand by the Murray Darling Basin Plan in its current form, the Plan needs to work for us, not against us,” Mr Barilaro said.
“It is clear our communities in regional NSW have had enough, and today we stand with them.
“NSW is being crippled by the worst drought on record and our future is at risk. The Plan should be flexible, adaptive and needs to produce good environmental outcomes for this State.
“I refuse to let regional communities die while we wash productive water into the Great Australian Bite, 1000km away.
At minimum NSW will demand the following:
- The Federal Government agree that NSW will not contribute to the 450GL of additional water recovery efforts.
- The barrages on the Lower Lakes lifted to allow seawater back into Lake Alexandrina.
- Transmission losses in the system are taken into account as water returned to the environment.
- The Federal Government agree that NSW Water resource plans will not be progressed until the drought has broken.
“It is patently wrong to ask NSW to give up more water during the worst drought on record. It not only fails the pub test but it defies any supposed benefit to the environment in NSW.”
Ms Pavey said the MDBP was never intended to be an unaltered, static document.
“The regional communities in NSW are being sailed up the river by the Commonwealth and South Australia is holding every other State to ransom,” Ms Pavey said.
“NSW has already done the heavy lifting and our communities are suffering as a result. South Australian lower lakes are full while NSW communities are dry.
“The MDBP needs flexibility and it is time we make those changes to put communities first.”
Further conditions will be raised at the upcoming Water Minister’s meeting in Brisbane on 17 December.