This week we saw another mass fish kill in the Murray-Darling on the Morrison Government’s watch. This is our river system in environmental collapse. Cotton, corporate greed and climate change are killing the River and all the Minister can say is ‘pray for rain’.
The Federal Government’s response is to back the NSW Government’s plan to fast-track the building of dams by watering down environmental rules. All evidence shows spending more public money on these dams will only deliver more water for big corporate irrigators. Building dams will not make it rain.
The Senate this week passed a Greens’ motion calling on the Federal Government to rule out giving any public funding to dam and water infrastructure projects that circumvent environmental assessment and don’t abide by proper environmental protections.
The government also doesn't get the fundamental link between climate change and drought. This was made clear during question time when I asked Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Agriculture, whether she accepts the science and acknowledges the link between climate change and drought. Having a drought plan without a plan to address climate change is no plan at all.
Legislation tabled in the NSW Parliament on Wednesday effectively tears up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, leaving the environment and downstream communities high and dry. I’ve written to Basin State Water Ministers urging them to convene a COAG (Council of Australian Governments) meeting to deal with this threat to the Plan by NSW. The NSW Government cannot be allowed to get away with this short-sighted response to the drought crisis that will further jeopardise the health of the River and all those who rely upon it.
When it comes to the drought and saving our Murray River, the Feds’ plan is as good as shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. I’ll be raising this in Senate Estimates next week, and making sure corporate greed doesn’t win out over SA’s and the River’s best interests.