Buybacks have been repeatedly recognised as harmful to local communities and are the laziest form of water recovery according to Shadow Water Minister Perin Davey.
Senator Davey stated to Tom Connell on Afternoon Agenda that every State is opposed to buybacks from their own communities because they recognise the harm.
“Even the South Australian Government, who want more water, don’t want buybacks from their own State. They just want it all bought from upstream,” she said.
“Victoria don’t want buyback so won’t sign up to the new agreement. NSW just want more money but say they don’t want buyback. No one wants buyback but the Federal Water Minister.
“What we need is a new way of thinking so you don’t keep taking water out of the consumptive pool and these are ideas that have been put forward but are not being considered.”
When pushed about the lack of progress towards the 450GL, Senator Davey pointed out that the Basin Plan is about sustainable diversion limits and the 450 is just one part of a package of up and down that had a limit to how much it can go either way, likening it to a see-saw.
“The Minister has made the Basin Plan all about the additional 450GLs when it should be all about whether States are operating within Sustainable Diversion Limits.
“If industry, towns, and other water users are operating within the SDLs then there is no need to continue chasing further licences which squeeze the market and at the end of the day will lead to increased prices at the supermarket checkout.
“Buybacks don’t impact the people selling water, what they do is damage those who want to remain in agriculture by removing not only water for production, but the ability to increase production using less water, which then has a flow on effect for all the industries reliant on agriculture.
Senator Davey has called on both the Greens and Minister Plibersek, who went straight to Adelaide for a media event, to stop prioritising Adelaide above all the other water users in the Basin, including South Australia’s valuable wine, citrus and nut industries in the Riverland who are deeply reliant on access the water market which is increasingly stretched every time the Government resorts to buybacks.
“We urge the Government to understand that if they push blindly ahead without understanding the complexities and community concerns, the good work which has seen over 80% of the Basin Plan achieved with some outstanding environmental and social gains, will evaporate as the basin descends into another period of finger pointing and blame games,” Senator Davey said.