Who’s playing politics with water?

The mooted 70GL reduction has resulted from an ongoing consultation process over the past four years and MDBA modelling of social, economic and environmental impacts which has also involved farming representatives.
The review process will trigger legislative amendments to adjust the Basin Plan, to be moved by Mr Joyce in federal parliament in July or August, while backing from the NSW and Queensland governments for the 70GL proposal is critical to the final outcome.
“I note the Authority’s own economic modelling shows a 390GL Plan would cost 205 jobs in the St George and Dirranbandi areas, while the 320GL plan costs 132 jobs,” he said.
He said the MDBA had acted in good faith recommending a lower amount of water be recovered from the Northern Basin with minimal environmental impact but “the actions of the Deputy Prime Minister change the context completely”.
“The Deputy Prime Minister needs to clarify if he supports the whole Plan or just the parts that suit him – there are no half-way measures here.” But a spokesperson for Minister Joyce said Mr Burke trying to make a political ‘upstream versus downstream’ issue out of the Northern Basin review was “pathetic and disappointing”.
“Further, MDBA modelling shows that under their recommended changes, SA is likely to receive increased flows in drier periods.” “Now who is playing politics with water?” The spokesperson said under the proposed 70GL scenario, around 200 jobs would be saved across struggling Northern Basin communities, while still achieving the same level of environmental outcomes.
“It’s important to note that even under the recommended changes there is further recovery to go through for some of these communities,” the statement said.
Mr Whan said according to the MDBA calculations it was “clear” that changing the target from 390GL to 320GL had no measurable impact on water available for SA and the Southern Basin.
“On that basis it is hard to see any practical reason why there would be opposition to the recommendation from the Southern Basin, including SA.” Political support for 70GL and 320GL target Mr Hunter has previously said the SA government wanted evidence that a reduction in the water recovery target from the Northern Basin review would have little impact on the southern connecting basin and anything less than 320GL would not be accepted.
The spokesperson said the decision to reduce water recovery in the Northern Basin from 390GL to 320GL was a step in the right direction – but it was disappointing that more productive water would be taken out of some northern communities, effectively leading to NSW being ‘over recovered’.

Learn More