Senator David Leyonhjelm has pledged to promote the withdrawal of New South Wales from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan if he is elected to the State Parliament on March 23.
In one of his last speeches to the Senate ahead of his official resignation on March 1, Senator Leyonhjelm slammed the Plan for devastating rural NSW. He described the price South Australia has paid as a “pimple on a pumpkin” in comparison.
“My solution to this, my advice, is that New South Wales should simply withdraw from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and tell South Australia to grow up, stop whingeing and answer a few questions,” he said in his passionate speech. “New South Wales should not re-join any plan involving the Murray-Darling until South Australia can answer some serious questions.”
He questioned why NSW and Victorian farmers should sacrifice vital water, just so a sailing regatta could be held on the Lower Lakes at Goolwa in South Australia.
“Go to towns like Shepparton, Deniliquin, Griffith and many, many other small towns, where the loss of water and irrigated farming has had an absolutely devastating effect on those country areas. By comparison, SA farmers have lost almost none of their water,” he told fellow Senators before taking aim at South Australian politicians.
“The situation in the Coorong is farcical. A few months ago I tweeted that the Coorong was dying. I was criticised by Senator Hanson-Young at the time, but I don’t think she even knew where the Coorong was,” he said. “Since then she’s gone to look at it, and now agrees it is dying. However, she and other SA politicians are in denial about the cause, which is the diversion of fresh water away from the Coorong and out to sea via the South East Drainage Scheme. Rather than return South Australian water to the Coorong, they want to use water from Victoria and NSW to try to save it.
“I also find South Australians completely hypocritical about the fish kill in the Menindee Lakes. The fish died because of two factors – not enough water and the high temperatures. Why was there not enough water in the Menindee Lakes? Because it was sent down the river to South Australia.”
Senator Leyonhjelm praised NSW Minister for Regional Water, Hon. Niall Blair MLC, for promising to stop any more water from the Menindee Lakes being sent to South Australia.
“If I am elected to the NSW Upper House, rest assured I will do everything I can to get us out of this absolute abomination of a Plan,” Senator Leyonhjelm concluded.
Watch the full speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR3b-MA3pCw