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Senator Hanson-Young's 'Basin bashing' threatens regional communities and the environment

6 February 2018

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has labelled an effort by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to quash amendments to the Basin Plan irresponsible and ill-informed.

Following the resumption of Federal Parliament this week, the Senate must vote on a motion brought by Senator Hanson-Young to disallow the adoption of amendments proposed by the Northern Basin Review process.

NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the Northern Basin Review was an integral part of the Plan that was signed off by the Parliament in 2012 with bipartisan support.

“Periodic review and adjustment was always central to the Basin Plan.

“It was agreed to at a time when we didn’t know enough about the science of the Northern Basin.

"Five years on, after significant investment in science, new knowledge, and in consultation with the community and stakeholders, the Murray Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA’s) recommendation is to reduce water recovery targets from 390 gigalitres to 320GL,” Mr Mahar said.

The disallowance motion seeks to keep the water recovery levels in the Northern Basin as they are, meaning 70GL would still need to be recovered from agricultural production.

"This reckless action by Senator Hanson-Young actually threatens to unwind the significant environmental achievements of the Plan to date. In fact, the motion would result in one less environmental target being met under the Plan.”

The NFF is urging all to email Labor and cross-bench Senators and outline the real peril the motion would impose on the Plan.

"Let’s ensure our Parliament stands up for the Plan, the environment and the communities it serves by explaining to Senator Hanson-Young’s the reality of her motion.

“A move to ignore the previously agreed to Northern Review Amendments would serve only to thrust further uncertainty on the already hurting communities of the Northern Basin.

 “Supporting the disallowance motion and increasing recovery targets would provide a disincentive for the Commonwealth, NSW and Queensland Governments to invest in the ‘toolkit’ of complementary measures which would leverage environmental gains out of the environmental water already acquired by the Commonwealth.

Mr Mahar said since the Plan was agreed to by all Basin jurisdictions and the Commonwealth Parliament in 2012, the NFF’s unwavering policy has been that the Plan should be implemented in a way that minimises the social and economic impacts of water recovery and in which meets agreed sustainable diversion limits. 

"Governments and stakeholders from all jurisdictions have committed and called for the implementation of the Basin Plan to be done on time and in full.

 “Northern Basin communities, including their farm businesses, simply can’t afford another economic shock delivered by increased recovery targets and water buybacks.

"Enough is enough – water buybacks have already crippled rural communities in the Northern Basin. Senator Hanson-Young’s Basin bashing must be stopped.

"Visit here farmers.org.au/get-involved/campaigns/stop-hanson-young-basin-motion.html to send an email direct to Labor leaders and Senators, urging them to stick up for our Plan." 

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P 0408 448 250
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