Following questioning by The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie in Canberra today, the EDO repeatedly avoided stating who is liable if environmental watering leads to the inundation of private property and businesses.
“The EDO believes around 7000Gl of water should be returned to the environment, rather than the proposed 2750 Gl, if the Water Act is to meet its full potential.
“In its submission to the Performance Audit of Commonwealth Environmental Watering Activities, the Victorian chapter of the EDO said catchment management authorities and river operators could be liable for flooding in the delivery of environmental water.
“It’s clear the EDO is pushing a Greens agenda as representatives also confirmed the Water Act correctly placed the environment before any social justice issues.
“This is despite the National Farmers Federation and the National Irrigators’ Council telling the inquiry the plan must be balanced.”
Irrigator groups also told the inquiry they needed the Basin Plan to provide certainty around water buybacks, in order to protect businesses and communities in the Basin.
“Irrigators don’t want further water buybacks from the Basin, despite the Murray Darling Basin Authority admitting there will be,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Government water buybacks should not be seen as an easy way out to achieve environmental water targets.
“First introduced in 2007, the Water Act was supposed to reinvigorate our water systems.
“Instead Labor has ruined this process by lazily resorting to water buybacks to achieve environmental outcomes in the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”
Senator McKenzie also noted, like last Thursday’s inquiry into the same matter, the Greens were again absent.