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NFF cautions Tony Burke against undermining the Basin Plan

13 February 2017

The National Farmers’ Federation is warning shadow water spokesperson Tony Burke MP against his reported intentions to seek amendments to the Basin Plan in the Federal Parliament today.

“If reports in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper are accurate, Mr Burke intends to ask the Parliament to unilaterally, and without consultation, force changes to the Basin Plan,” NFF Vice President and Water Taskforce Chair Les Gordon said.

“Such a move would completely undermine the fundamental state-commonwealth collaborative mechanism that underpins the Basin Plan.”

Mr Gordon said that as the Minister who negotiated the Basin Plan, Mr Burke knows only too well that the additional 450GL up water in the Plan can only be recovered where this will have neutral or improved socio-economic outcomes.

“The evidence presented to date by the NSW and Victorian State Governments is yet to demonstrate that this neutral or improved test can be met.”

As part of both Council of Australian Government (CoAG) and Ministerial Council (Minco) negotiations, the NFF is urging the States and the Commonwealth to work harder to make the implementation of the adjustment mechanism work.

“This includes examining every opportunity to achieve environmental outcomes as efficiently as possible,” Mr Gordon said.

He said the NFF’s message to Mr Burke was clear.

“Let CoAG and Minco get on with the job of finding a pathway forward to implement the Basin Plan and avoid inflicting further negative impacts on the social and economic fabric of the Basin’s industries and communities.

“Of all people – Mr Burke should know the importance of working together to deliver the Basin Plan.

“A stunt such as this today would be nothing more than grandstanding and our basin communities deserve better.”

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