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Stone to vote no on Basin plan

Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone supports Murray-Darling Basin Plan disallowance motion.

November 28, 2012 4:04am

Sharman Stone has broken ranks with her party and supported a motion against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which was tabled by the Federal Government in parliament on Monday.

Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott yesterday told colleagues the Federal Coalition would back the plan.

This means it is expected to go ahead despite the Liberals’ Dr Stone and Nationals’ Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack giving notice of a disallowance motion.

The Federal Member for Murray said the ‘‘very serious’’ decision to go against her party was an emotional one, but she could not support a flawed plan that could potentially devastate northern Victoria.

She said she would cross the floor on the issue — where she would likely join the Greens — and would also cross the floor when a bill to take up to an extra 450Gl is voted on today.

‘‘I just had to take a stand,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s important to say the plan is not an effective environmental, economic or community outcome.’’

She said her opposition to the plan put on record it was defective and did not respect the productivity of the Basin or its rural communities.

‘‘It’s treated the more than two million people of the Basin as expendable,’’ she said.

She said she had ‘‘literally hundreds of calls’’ from concerned constituents, including farmers and real estate agents worried about its impact on property prices.

‘‘As the member for Murray I just had to say, ‘No’,’’ Dr Stone said.

Mr McCormack said so far no other Coalition colleagues had offered support for the motion.

‘‘If that means that Sharman and I sit alone on one side of the parliament and everybody else stands on the other, well so be it,’’ he said.

The government must respond to the motion within 15 sitting days.

Parliament rises for the year at the end of the week and sits again on February 5.

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