Riverina MP will cross floor for MDB

02 Nov, 2012 01:00 AM
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Senator Fiona Nash with Michael McCormack.
Senator Fiona Nash with Michael McCormack.

NATIONALS Riverina MP Michael McCormack says he's prepared to cross the floor and vote against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan if it takes away 2750 gigalitres from primary production for environmental purposes.

Rural communities and farming stakeholder groups have demanded a final Basin Plan that balances economic and social outcomes in equal consideration with environmental concerns.

Communities like Griffith in Mr McCormack's electorate fear unjustifiably large volumes of water may be stripped from primary production, but only achieve marginal or superficial environmental gains.

They warn that loss of water would cause devastating impacts for secondary community businesses reliant on that income for survival.

The Griffith community expressed that fear and angst like no other in the Basin, by fronting up with the largest attendances at two highly emotional public meetings during the two rounds of public consultation in the planning process, over the past two years.

With the basin planning process now at the pointy end of negotiations - and Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Water Minister Tony Burke declaring with confidence it will pass through parliament this year - tensions have again escalated.

Ms Gillard and Mr Burke visited the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray mouth region in South Australia last week to announce the federal government would provide $1.77 billion over ten years, from 2014, to relax key operating constraints and allow an additional 450GL of environmental water.

They said the additional 450GL would be obtained through various projects to ensure there is "no social and economic downside for communities".

The 450GL is in addition to the 2750GL already proposed in the plan.

Mr McCormack said last week's announcement by Ms Gillard was "a political stunt rather than a political statement", and unfair.

"People in Griffith were livid last Friday and that went from the Mayor all the way through the community," he said.

Mr McCormack said secondary businesses like bakeries, motels, hairdressers and newsagents were all in the plan's firing line, as they relied on farmers to grow produce with the water and sell that product then spend that money in town.

Mr McCormack said the government was "throwing out policies they know they'll never have to deliver".

"I certainly won't be approving or voting in favour of 2750GL and if it means I'll have to sit on the other side of the chamber on my own then I will," he said.

"I won't be voting in favour of 2750GL coming out of the (Murray-Darling Basin) system, given the amount of water that's already been bought out of the system.

"I won't be abstaining - I'll be voting against it."

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READER COMMENTS

Ray
2/11/2012 4:46:03 AM

No Probs , Once they take water out of production & put it in peoples houses & furniture, they will have lost so much money they will start selling our environment to the Chinese . We are already begging them for more money .The Chinese want our water .
Bushie Bill
2/11/2012 6:56:32 AM

Yeah Ray. whatever you say...
Ian Mott
2/11/2012 8:36:42 AM

The entire Coorong holds less than 230,000 ML of water and these clowns want 3,200,000 ML of someone else's fresh water, each year, to keep it at the same salinity as sea water? And it has never occurred to them that there are billions of gigalitres of free sea water just a kilometre away. SA had 12 million ML of flood water last year and it hardly made a dint on Coorong salinity. They don't want to fix the problem and they don't want to do anything positive with the stolen water. They just want to take someone else down and bugger the consequences.
Susan
2/11/2012 9:34:30 AM

The Murrumbidgee has been running a banker for months now on the pretext of environmental flows, increasing the volume will cause low level flooding, what this is doing to the river "environment " who knows and what will they send down the river if next year is dry. The Lunatics are running the asylum
fridgimus
2/11/2012 11:31:22 AM

There's 600km of river between the SA border and the Coorong to take into consideration you clown.
Percy
2/11/2012 2:50:29 PM

Of course the environment has not fully recovered from the ten year drought yet but it must certainly be well on the way. Go to those forest areas that were logged but are now locked up and you will find a wilderness of new growth. Nature is about decay and renewal but man (if allowed) can utilise much of what is normally wasted. Take away that ten year abnormality we had and reconsider the MDB plan then those so called experts should come up with a totally different scenario. Any wonder scientists are becoming a disrespected band of professionals.
steveB
2/11/2012 3:48:04 PM

Think we can all keep bashing our head against the wall and blaming each other - this government and the next will keep coming up with the magic cure - my opinion forget trying to rob Peter and pay Paul - lets look at the lock system first - get rid of the crook water from the bottom - salts heavy than water - open lock on top - problem only going to get worse
Jill
3/11/2012 5:18:23 PM

Good on you Michael McCormick having the courage to stand against this ridiculous green utopian nonsense. We applaud you!
Ian Mott
4/11/2012 12:11:49 AM

Wow, fridgi, 12 million ML divided by 600km works out at 20,000 ML per kilometre. But the reality is that it all just pissed out to sea. Meanwhile we have another non-El Nino year after the MDBA told us that drought was the new normal. Yep, the plan is based on a decade of data from a drought. And the scumbags have only incorporated the latest data in a 140 year average. These SA swamp rat retards are a national disgrace.
steveB
5/11/2012 5:45:27 PM

If its worth anything - lets do a bit of what the greens want - turn the Coorong back to natural state - ie take the barrier away and let nature do the trick - then the Coorong will be the same salinity as the sea not higher. We need the lock system way down the river system but get rid of the dirty water - then you wont have trees tapping into salt
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