Victorian Labor’s refusal to sign on to Murray-Darling Basin plan will leave regional communities high and dry

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have urged the Victorian Labor Government to sign on to the new Murray-Darling Basin plan, citing concerns that local communities will be left worse off should the government fail to.

The new plan passed the Federal Senate today after the Greens and Labor struck a deal, helping to ensure the Murray-Darling Basin system can survive in the face of climate change.

But under the agreement, while the Commonwealth will be able to purchase water from willing sellers across the country, only those states that have signed up to the deal will be eligible for the transitional community funding on offer.

Over the last 12 months numerous reports have been released that show that the Victorian Labor Government has not only undermined environmental water targets, but they have continued to rely on dodgy economic modelling and expensive infrastructure projects to avoid their water commitments.

Now, Labor’s continued stubborn approach will mean communities in the state will not receive the funding that would be otherwise available.

That’s why the Greens are calling on the Victorian Government today to sign on to this new deal, stop blocking buy-backs that would see real water returned to the Murray-Darling Basin and to make good on the environmental obligations it has failed to meet.

More than three million people – around 12% of Australia’s population – are dependent on the Murray for water yet this state government is willing to put their livelihoods and communities at risk by refusing to step up to its environmental commitments.

As stated by Victorian Greens water spokesperson, Dr Sarah Mansfield:

“We welcome the deal secured by the Federal Greens on the Murray-Darling Basin. Unfortunately, the Victorian Labor Government refuses to be part of this deal. Our regional communities and environment are going to pay the price. They will miss out on the benefits of more water and more funding.

“Victorian Labor’s stubborn resistance to buybacks is straight from the Nationals’ playbook. They continue to deny the science, instead choosing to spout dodgy reports to back up their claims, and rely on expensive, complex, unproven infrastructure projects to avoid returning real water to the environment.

“In the face of climate change the Greens once again call on Victorian Labor to do the right thing by regional communities and the environment, and get on board with a national Murray-Darling Basin plan.”

/Public Release. View in full here.