The Australian Greens’ push to stop billions of litres of water from being stripped from the environment to feather the nests of greedy corporate irrigators has won the backing of Labor and some crossbench senators, passing the Senate tonight.
“We’ve cleared the first hurdle on the road to restoring the Murray Darling Basin Plan back to what it was meant to be; security for the river, and for the environment to get what it needs to survive,” Greens Murray Darling Basin spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“The Senate has stared down the bullying and scare tactics of big corporate irrigators and upstream states who for too long have turned a blind eye to water theft and corruption.
“This is a huge win for the community who have been crying out against the rorting that is rife in the Murray-Darling Basin. For too long every day Australians who live within the Basin have been ripped off, and the Greens won’t stand for it.
“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is being undermined by big corporate irrigators who care more about feathering their own nests at taxpayers’ expense, rather than making sure the river gets what it needs to survive. All over the Basin, I’ve heard horrific accounts of dried riverbeds, dying wildlife, algal blooms and water simply not coming out of the tap while greedy corporate irrigators get more than their fair share and authorities, including the New South Wales and Federal governments, turn a blind eye.
“Communities no longer trust the Murray Darling Basin Plan is working, and they can’t be assured that the Murray Darling Basin Authority, or the Federal Government are doing what is needed to get the Plan back on track.
“This is water that is paid for by Australian taxpayers, for the benefit of all Australians and the environment, not to be siphoned off by greedy cotton growers who have been at the centre of scandal after scandal upstream. There must now be an independent audit into where taxpayers’ money has gone and where the water is going, urgently.
“The Australian Greens will continue to fight for the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and we will always stand up for South Australia – which too often gets the raw end of the deal when it comes to the river.”