Communities impacted most by water buybacks will not have the opportunity to present in their own regions to a Senate Committee inquiring into the latest water reform legislation currently before Federal Parliament.
The Senate voted against a motion that would have directed the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee’s inquiry on the Water Amendments to hold public hearings in Deniliquin, Griffith, Mildura, Renmark, and Shepparton.
The motion, brought to the Senate by Shadow Water Minister, Perin Davey was designed to address a serious lack of consultation with the communities who will be the target for water buybacks under the proposed changes to the Basin Plan.
“The fact the Labor committee members, backed by the Greens, are planning to only hold hearings in Canberra, rather than in the regions where buybacks will actually take place, tells you all you need to know about this Government’s opinion of our regional communities,” she said.
“The motion I put forward would have ensured that those communities could have had their say in their regions and would have given the committee the opportunity to see where the impacts have been and will be felt most.
“Instead, the Government, through their majority hold of the committee and with the Greens holding the deputy chair position, is choosing to ignore these communities.
“This is extremely disappointing, but not unexpected, from a Government that has referred to itself as the ‘Government of transparency’ but is acting as the Government of secrecy.
“This action means it is even more important for these communities, and other irrigation areas throughout the Basin, to make a submission to the Committee and state their concerns,” Senator Davey said.
More information on the inquiry can be found at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/MDBAWaterBill2023