Productivity Commission supports buybacks as Senate Inquiry hears bogus irrigation projects should be scrapped


Key elements of today’s report from the Productivity Commission call for more water buybacks and accountability measures, as a Senate Inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin hears today that bogus & expensive irrigation infrastructure projects should be scrapped. The Greens, who are in balance of power on the amendment to the Water Act, have welcomed elements of the PC report.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Spokesperson for the Murray Darling Basin and the Environment:

“‘Buy more water for the environment and stop funding expensive, dodgy irrigation projects’ is what we’ve heard today from the Productivity Commission and the Senate Inquiry. It’s a message the Government should heed.

“The Greens can not rubber stamp the Government’s amendment to the Water Act as it stands. The Bill must include a guarantee that the water promised for the environment and South Australia will be delivered on time and not delayed again. 

“The Productivity Commission has today said the current plan is failing to deliver water for the environment and that more water buybacks are the most cost effective way to protect the Murray Darling Basin from vested interests.

“Today’s Senate inquiry has also heard from almost all witnesses that the bogus and costly irrigation infrastructure projects which have failed to deliver water should be scrapped, and money should instead be used for buybacks. The Productivity Commission has also clearly recommended that a range of dodgy and expensive water supply projects should be scrapped.

“We can’t afford another decade of delay, broken promises and political buck-passing on the Murray Darling Basin. As we head into a hot, dry, El Niño summer, the Murray Darling Basin is at serious risk.

“A river system dies from the mouth up - which is why it’s crucial that the Coorong, lower lakes and Murray mouth get the water science says is needed."