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Authority cuts & runs from scrutiny

20 July 2010

TODAY the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) confirmed it will dodge releasing its already delayed and highly contentious precursor to the proposed Basin Plan until after the election.

“Obviously, farmers, regional communities and environmental interests across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia will be irate,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie declared.

“But this decision to delay public scrutiny will have all Australians asking, ‘what is the Authority or Government hiding?’

“Irrigators and regional communities are crying out for information and opportunity to have a say on their future. This opportunity is today further delayed.

“Let’s be clear on the caretaker conventions for election campaigns. This is not a major policy decision; this is about information and advice to irrigators and communities. NFF seriously questions whether the caretaker conventions apply.

“Recalibrating water use must be done sensibly and with equal consideration afforded to food production in the Basin, which accounts for 40% of all the food we grow in Australia. In good faith, farmers have supported water reform on this very basis.

“For the so-called independent Authority to cut and run from public scrutiny is outrageous.”

[ENDS]

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