Little else can be done to stop the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, whether the Coalition opposes it or not.November 23, 2012 4:55am
Deniliquin farmers Colin (left) and Lachlan (right) Bull with Minister for Water Tony Burke and then Murray Irrigation Ltd chairman Stewart Ellis during Mr Burke's visit to Deniliquin in February.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been signed into law, and there’s almost nothing that can be done about it.
Federal Water Minister Tony Burke was given the final plan on Wednesday night, and signed it in the presence of Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday.
The Coalition and the Murray Group of Concerned Communities (MGCC) have both admitted there is little that can be done.
The plan was never intended to go to a vote, and the only avenue to block it is to get a disallowance motion passed.
Any Member of Parliament has 15 sitting days to move a disallowance motion, but Federal Shadow Water Minister Barnaby Joyce said a disallowance could result in an even more detrimental outcome.
‘‘I won’t have the numbers to put it through,’’ he told the Pastoral Times on Wednesday.
‘‘The Greens would support the Labor Party.
‘‘That would then allow the Greens to go back to the negotiation table and negotiate a worse outcome.
‘‘They don’t need the Coalition.’’
Senator Joyce said the Greens want to see 4000GL returned to the environment.
Murray Group of Concerned Communities chair Bruce Simpson met with Federal Independent Bob Katter on Wednesday, and said he was exploring the possibility of a disallowance.
However, Mr Simpson said a disallowance could allow the government to keep buying back water.
‘‘Would the negative impact of not having any sort of plan be more profound than having some plan, even though it’s the best of the worst?’’ he said.
‘‘It (the plan) gives us a reference point by which we can hold politicians in any political party that find themselves in power accountable.
‘‘Without that framework our communities are even more vulnerable than they are now.’’
Mr Simpson said if a disallowance is passed, the plan cannot be tabled in Parliament again for six months.
‘‘But what it doesn’t stop, is the government of the day continuing to procure water in whatever way they think is most appropriate,’’ he said.
‘‘We will have no means to hold them accountable.
‘‘They have the right under the Water Act .’’
Mr Simpson said yesterday the MGCC had not yet seen what was in the final plan, but had a ‘‘reasonably high expectation’’ of what would be in it.
However, he said if anything ‘‘left field’’ appeared in the plan that would be ‘‘clearly detrimental to our position’’, they would consider lobbying for a disallowance.
Senator Joyce also did not rule out moving a disallowance.
Mr Simpson said that beyond a disallowance, the only hope left for changing the plan lies after the next Federal election.
Both Mr Katter and Senator Joyce have indicated they could go back and change the plan, if they had the power after the 2013 polls.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan will deliver 2750GL of water to the environment.
Legislation to recover a further 450GL, bringing the total to 3200GL, is expected to be put to Parliament next week as a separate bill.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has said she ‘‘can’t live with 3200GL’’.
‘‘No one in the Coalition is saying they can accept it either,’’ she said.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Mary and Molly Byrne are urging others to support National Bandanna Day today.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
The annual Deniliquin Garage and Town Sale event is being held tomorrow, and more than 16 homes are registered for the bargain day.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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