The Government has released the MYEFO statement showing cuts across regional Australia including lack of funding for vital water projects.
Shadow Minister for Water, Perin Davey said this lack of funding, which is masquerading as savings, are hidden costs to our productivity and water security, by essentially abandoning projects which were intended to mitigate against drought, and ensure farmers had access to adequate water for agricultural purposes.
“The Water Minister has repeatedly claimed we had to rush through changes to the Water Act because we were facing another drought, yet the Minister has now cut funding for water security infrastructure across the country,” Senator Davey said.
“The Government has continued to hide from Australians exactly how many billions of dollars they expect their recent changes to the Water Act will cost the taxpayer, and instead are running around claiming they’ve found huge savings.
“At the election Labor promised to be transparent with communities, yet now we see their modus operandi has become to hide what they’re spending so as to avoid scrutiny on their cost of living and productivity failures.
“Minister Plibersek has talked a big game on drought mitigation, yet MYEFO shows us there has been no increase in additional drought resilience expenditure planned.
The Albanese Government have delivered hammer blow after hammer blow to regional Australia, and the agriculture sector. Since being elected the Government has swung the axe over critical water infrastructure – to the tune of billions of dollars.
“In their first Budget in October 2022, funding for dams in North Queensland was cut, with the $5.4 billion Hells Gates Dam and $483 million Urannah Dam both being scrapped,” Senator Davey said.
“In their second Budget in May 2023, Labor abandoned vital water security projects worth nearly $900 million.
“Now the MYEFO has dropped the hammer on another $273 million in cuts for vital water security infrastructure projects.
“Cuts like this have consequences, when you take away water infrastructure, you take away the future of our regional communities who produce our nation’s food and fibre.
“These cuts will inevitably lead to worsening droughts with resultant cuts to agricultural productivity leading to higher cost of living through higher grocery prices.”