Accepting the Water and Emergency Management portfolios in the Shadow Ministry, NSW Senator and Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Perin Davey said both portfolios are priority areas for regional communities.
“We have learned a lot over the last three years responding to drought, fires and floods. Those learnings must not be lost and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency must be fully resourced,” she said.
“On water, my commitment is to stand up for river communities throughout the whole of the Basin and I urge the Labor Government not to fall for “Basin Plan for South Australia” rhetoric.
“Over the 10 years of Coalition Government our focus was on delivering the Basin Plan without selling out river communities,” she said.
“I urge the new Water Minister, Tanya Plibersek to visit Basin communities like Deniliquin, Shepparton, Dirranbandi and Renmark before rushing into new rounds of water recovery.
“I welcome the new Government’s commitment to compliance, metering and monitoring but I am gravely concerned about how they propose to deliver an extra 450GL without further social and economic damage.
“In 2018 all State Ministers agreed to aa social and economic neutrality test for the 450 to protect all Basin communities and that agreement must be honoured.”
Senator Davey said she would like to work with the Government to identify ways to finalise the plan without resorting to further water recovery from consumptive water users.
“The States have asked for more time to finalise SDL Adjustment Mechanism projects and that request should be considered and agreed.
“Complementary measures have been on the table along with projects that will keep water in the system but can’t be converted to entitlements – these should be part of the mix.
“At the end of the day, the Basin Plan must be about the whole Basin. In 2012, it was sold to communities as a flexible and adaptable Plan to manage water but unfortunately it has become all about numbers not outcomes.”
Senator Davey said the Shadow Ministry had the right balance of experience and new talent with a strong team from the Nationals fighting for the regions.