Water

Basin plan is a ‘disaster’

by
August 04, 2017

Southern Riverina Irrigators chairman Graeme Pyle said members of the group had been calling for a royal commission for nearly two years.

Southern Riverina Irrigators and irrigation group Speak Up have called for a royal commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, labelling the plan a ‘‘disaster’’.

The calls come following a Four Corners investigation aired last week which alleged water earmarked for environmental purposes may have been misappropriated.

Southern Riverina Irrigators chairman Graeme Pyle said members of the group had been calling for a royal commission for nearly two years.

‘‘There are huge issues with this plan and its implementation, which stem back to lack of planning when it was first announced by then Prime Minister John Howard, including incorrect assumptions on which it was based,’’ Mr Pyle said.

‘‘The ‘just add water’ philosophy on which the plan is based is fundamentally flawed. In essence, it was a poorly developed attempt to solve political problems, rather than basin problems. We are now all paying the price.’’

Speak Up spokesperson Shelley Scoullar said if the plan continued down its current path it would likely be remembered as the biggest waste of taxpayers’ money in Australian history.

‘‘There are too many inadequacies and failings, and these need to be brought out into the open and addressed,’’ she said.

‘‘With $13billion of taxpayer money at stake, a royal commission seems the only option.

‘‘There is also no question the basin plan is having adverse environmental effects in some areas ... we don’t just want an investigation into the northern basin or any other part of the basin or the plan; we want it to look at the plan in its entirety.’’

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