The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie will welcome the Women for a Living Basin community group to the halls of Parliament tomorrow.
Senator McKenzie said the delegation was heading to Canberra to draw attention to the negative social impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on their families, schools, businesses and communities.
“This dedicated group is deeply concerned about the pressures being put on basin families and continued uncertainty around the Government’s water reform,” Senator McKenzie explained.
The Nationals Senator said the chasm of uncertainty had grown in light of conflicting information from the MDBA and Federal Government last week.
“At Wednesday’s Swan Hill meeting, I listened as MDBA head Craig Knowles told the community the authority was focused on water savings through infrastructure improvements but just one day later, Water Minister Tony Burke announced his government was embarking on a new water buyback scheme,” she said.
“If we take 30% of your water out of this community it will have damaging, severe, devastating effects,” Mr Knowles conceded before the Swan Hill crowd.
Questioned about buyback schemes, the MBDA Chair said “we have said to the Government ‘don’t do it that way’.
“We don’t support that, I want to be clear about that. We want there to be a shift into an investment in infrastructure and investment into making sure we use all the water we are using – whatever we use it for – as efficiently as we possibly can.”
“To turn on the radio the next day and learn that the Gillard Government was introducing a buyback scheme this month is an absolute kick in the guts to southern basin communities who were promised there would be no water buybacks until 2013,” said Senator McKenzie.
“The division and dysfunction we have witnessed in the Labor caucus has unsurprising infiltrated its day to day operations and demonstrates that this untrustworthy Gillard Government is not fit for office.
“If you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country. Regional Australia deserves better than this self-absorbed, incompetent Labor Government.”