The Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023 needs to be amended in order to pass the Senate according to a report from a Government chaired Senate committee tabled today.
The call for amendments was echoed by the Liberal and Nationals members of the Committee who prepared a dissenting report outlining why change was needed.
The Opposition supports the extension of deadlines contained in the Bill, but says without significant amendment, this Bill should not be passed by the Senate, according to Shadow Water Minister, Perin Davey.
“We will not support a bill that allows for open tender buybacks, particularly in the absence of an adequate social and economic impact assessment,” Senator Davey said.
“The focus of the Basin Plan must be on delivering against the environmental outcomes, not merely volumes and for that reason, we are opposed to recovering the 450GL from the productive pool of water.
“We are calling for amendments to ensure Basin Communities are not subjected to further unnecessary social and economic impacts.
“We see no reason to lift the cap on buybacks, particularly when there is still a significant volume available before the cap is reached.
“We also see no reason to remove the social and economic neutrality test, which was originally put into the Plan by Labor back in 2012 to protect communities.
Senator Davey said everyone wanted to see a heathy river, but healthy communities are also vital for a healthy environment.