Greens Senator for South Australia and Spokesperson for the Environment and Water, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young responded to the announcement SA is giving 100GL of Murray River water to NSW and Victoria and increasing use of the state’s desalination plant:
“South Australians are being taken for mugs, as the Federal and SA Governments cut a deal to reduce water flowing into the Lower Murray.
“The Liberal and National Parties have a history of selling SA short when it comes to the Murray.
“Firing up the desal plant doesn’t deal with the chronic over-allocation of water, corporate greed or drought.
“Cutting SA’s river water allocation in favour of turning on the desalination plant is short-term thinking and I worry SA will be left carrying the can, with less water flowing downstream, higher water prices for Adelaide, and no political will to tackle upstream greed and over-allocation.
“The State Government has still not released its report into the cost-benefit of the desal plant, which is now months overdue, and yet today they have traded away more water from the Murray.
“This looks like the SA Liberals bending over backwards for their upstream Coalition mates, while back at home South Australian taxpayers, homeowners and the environment will be left carrying the cost.
“Minister Littleproud today failed to outline how the government will ensure the water cut from SA will even end up where it should. The Murray-Darling Basin has been riddled with dodgy accounting, mismanagement, and out-right water theft, why should anyone believe that this isn’t anything more than just another slush fund for the National Party and their corporate irrigator mates?
“It’s hard to believe that putting the National Party in charge of spending more public money on water allocations will end pretty.
“In the medium and longer term, the consequences of reducing flows by 100GL to the Lower Murray could be significant for the health of the River.
“The SA Libs had a chance today to extract a proper commitment for the remaining 450GL under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Instead SA will now prop up NSW and Victoria left struggling because of corporate greed.
“We’re all being taken for mugs, but SA is again copping it the worst. We saw five Federal Ministers front a press conference today to talk about drought and not one of them mentioned action on the climate crisis. If you don’t have a plan to tackle the climate crisis, you don’t have a drought policy.”