The Albanese Government is refusing to tell Australians the cost of delivering on their Murray-Darling Basin Plan commitments.
According to the Budget papers released on Tuesday night, the cost to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) and Department of Treasury for delivering water commitments are “not for publication” due to commercial sensitivities.
“For a Government that claimed to be all about transparency, it is remarkable that they cloud the future of the Basin Plan and its costs and hide it from the public,” Shadow Water Minister Perin Davey said.
“They say it will be partially offset by redirecting funding from within the portfolio – which is just as opaque.
“They need to tell us what sections of the portfolio will miss out in order to fund – we don’t know what, to deliver on ‘commitments’, which, in itself, is vague,” Senator Davey said.
Senator Davey said the cover-up continued under the heading ‘Murray-Darling Basin – water market reform.’
The Budget papers say: “The Government will provide funding over 5 years from 2022-23 to respond to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Murray-Darling Basin water markets inquiry by improving the transparency and integrity of water markets…”
“Yet, they refuse to show how much funding they will provide, again citing commercial sensitivities,” Senator Davey said.
“So, they are going to improve transparency and integrity without providing any transparency or integrity in their own budget papers.
“Tanya Plibersek needs to come clean with the Australian public and Basin communities.
“What are her plans for the Basin and how much is it going to cost?” she said.