25 February 2021

Tim Quilty joins discussion examining problems created by Murray Darling Basin Plan

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty learned from water and economic experts during a conference examining the impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan today.

The two-day conference in Rutherglen brought academics, industry leaders and politicians together to look for solutions to the myriad problems arising from the plan.

Mr Quilty represents Victorian communities along the length of the Murray and said he had gained some valuable insights from the forum.

“Nobody who lives and works in the Murray Darling Basin thinks the plan is working, nobody believes the decision-makers are acting in our interests,” Mr Quilty said.

“The overwhelming opinion seems to be that the plan is failing environmental, social and economic outcomes. Regional communities are being destroyed, for no good purpose.

“The end result is that farmers are struggling, associated businesses are losing out, jobs are disappearing and so communities are suffering.”

Mr Quilty said it was critical for all parties to work together to seek solutions, instead of becoming entrenched in sometimes misguided beliefs.

“The issues with the Basin will vary according to where you are and who you talk to, which makes it difficult to find a solution that addresses all problems,” Mr Quilty said.

“Popular opinion suggests South Australians want nothing but freshwater, but a South Australian estuarine ecologist explained it is only government bureaucrats who want that outcome.

“Meanwhile, in the northern end of the basin, we have floodplain harvesting which is literally stealing water from the system and which seems to be tacitly condoned by the NSW Government.

“And then there is the complication of water trading and water entitlements, which has been shrouded in secrecy.

“We need transparency tor all information, rather than the restricted release of data which fits the desired narrative – whether that be water entitlement ownership, estuary salinity or water volumes.

“Then, when affected communities have all the information at their fingertips in a format which is easily understood, we can start creating solutions which untie the incredible knot that is the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819