Jul 5, 2023 | Media Releases, Media Releases 2023

News the Labor Government are considering extending Basin Plan deadlines are welcome, if not 18 months late according to Shadow Water Minister, Perin Davey.

“Minister Plibersek knew these deadlines would not be met,” Senator Davey said.

“I told her in my first letter to her when I was appointed Shadow Minister, I told her at a face-to-face meeting in August last year, the MDBA CEO told the National Press Club last year and the NSW and Victorian Governments had told her from the first Ministerial Council.

“More recently, through the Minister’s own consultation on how to finalise the Basin Plan there have been many ideas submitted, but none that can be delivered within 12 months, so it is necessary to extend the deadlines.

“Ideally, I would have liked the deadlines to have been extended prior to the last election when the NSW and Victorian Governments first asked, but we were dealing with a hostile Senate and Labor would not negotiate.

“Now the Minister has realised there are a magnitude of reasons why the Basin Plan is behind schedule, not all within Federal Government control, I hope she is more open to having constructive discussions about how to enable the Basin Plan to be finalised to deliver the environmental objectives.”

Senator Davey rejected claims the Basin Plan was behind schedule because the Liberals and Nationals “sabotaged” its delivery saying much of the implementation of the plan is dependent on states and out of Federal Government control.

“If the Minister is talking about the 450, it was not the Nationals who wrote in the Basin Plan that it must only be pursued if it delivers ‘positive or neutral’ social and economic outcomes,” Senator Davey said.

“The Liberals and Nationals just honoured the criteria written by Tony Burke in 2012 and we worked with the Basin Ministerial Council, at the time made up evenly of Labor and Coalition members, to develop the social and economic test which was then agreed in 2018.

“If the 450 can’t be delivered in the way Tony Burke envisaged, then it should not be delivered. I believe he wrote the Plan that way because he listened to the communities and I ask the current Minister to do the same.

“At the end of the day, the Basin Plan must be about environmental outcomes, not arbitrary numbers on a page.

“If the Government wants to talk about how to deliver the Basin Plan with new ideas and new concepts that will improve our environmental resilience, my door is always open.

“I will not, however, consider plans to prioritise or allow increased buybacks that hurt Basin communities and have flow on impacts that will cost every Australian in the long run,” Senator Davey said.