The Australian Greens have backed the South Australian Government’s decision to establish a royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“After months of calling on the Federal Government to act, the South Australian Government has had to step in and be the adult in the room,” Greens Murray Darling Basin spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“Like with energy policy and climate change, South Australians are sick and tired of the lack of action from Canberra on the scandalous quagmire that is the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The Federal Government has been completely absent when it comes to taking action on the widespread rorting of the Plan and theft of water from what is the most important river system in our nation.
“There is now serious questions over the independence of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, which released its damning report quietly on a Saturday afternoon while one of the implicated states was going to the polls. They have not acted on damning information of greedy corporate irrigators stealing water from the Basin and done little to ensure compliance. Of course river communities, and South Australians, feel ripped off.
“As whistleblowers continue to speak up it is becoming clearer that the Murray Darling Basin Authority has become hoodwinked by the corporate and political interests of upstream states and big irrigators.
“It’s ironic that in the MDBA’s own report they’ve said upstream states have shown a ‘notable lack of transparency’, yet the only reason we know there is such a widespread problem is because of brave whistle blowers, former Authority staff, and dedicated members of river communities who have had enough of the secrecy and the coverup.
“It’s a great shame that the plan which was supposed to have the states working together to ensure the environment and river communities had the water they needed first and foremost, has been splintered by theft, non-compliance, apathy and cover-up, but something must be done.”