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MOTION – Murray Darling Basin Plan

Sep 11, 2019 | Parliament

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (15:18): I will do the edited version of this. I agree with Mr Quilty that the Murray-Darling Basin plan has been a lot of disappointment. I may be one of the few people in this place, and I am aware of some others, who has actually held water entitlements; for me it was in a scheme during my years on the farm at Stanhope. I did my best to understand the very complex system of water markets that allows users to buy and sell water, balancing those needs with the environmental flows to maintain the health of the system. It is a monster. It is complex and has been inefficient. Water has been wasted. Water has been stolen. There are issues of evaporation. It has not always been managed well.

But we are at the table now. We cannot take the bat and ball and go home. Water is a valuable, increasingly scarce commodity. It needs to be managed, and managed well. We cannot just point fingers and walk away. This is a national issue and Victoria must be part of the solution, no matter how difficult finding that solution is.

Managing a water system that is so diverse and has so many competing needs is an incredible challenge, but it is not one we can walk away from. We need to work together with the other states, with federal government and with the local communities to understand and manage the complex and connected system that is the Murray-Darling Basin.

I agree with Mr Quilty that the current plan leaks like a sieve, but we cannot dump it and walk away, therefore I will not be supporting this motion or the amendments.

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