4 December 2019
Senator Patrick notes with disappointment statements being made by the New South Wales Deputy Premier threatening to pull out of the basin plan unless a number of demands are met. These demands include NSW not contributing to 450GL of water recover efforts, the lifting of the barrages, the inclusion of transmission losses as water returned to the environment and not progressing the water sharing plans until after the drought is broken.
"In repeatedly threatening to leave the plan, and proposing unreasonable demands, the NSW Government is behaving like a petulant child," said Senator Rex Patrick. "All the NSW Government is doing is trying to distract the public’s attention away from the root causes of the problem, including over-extraction of water, and the NSW Government’s shameful track record of water mismanagement within their state."
"This is a Government who threatened to pull out of the Basin Plan in February and March 2018 if the Senate did not agree to allow irrigators to take an extra 70GL from the Northern Basin,” said Senator Patrick. "This is a Government that allowed widespread rorting and water theft to take place. This is a Government that stands condemned for the state of the Barwon-Darling ecosystem."
"Whilst I am of the strong view that the Basin Plan requires adjustment, repeated threats by the NSW Government to pull out of the Plan are disturbing and unwelcomed," said Senator Patrick.
Senator Patrick supports the SA Government’s characterisation of the NSW’s demands as “irrational” and anticipates the SA Water Minister will resist any attempts to advance them.
Senator Patrick will use his position in the Senate to support the SA Government to ensure the upstream states meet their obligations under the basin plan.