‘Nat’ de­fence of 450 sup­port

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tive for The Na­tion­als, Perin Davey, said she thought the risk to the re­gion ‘‘was too high’’ to sup­port a mo­tion to block the re­cov­ery of an ad­di­tional 450 gi­gal­itres of wa­ter un­der the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan.

The NSW Na­tion­als have come un­der fire for vot­ing against the Vic­to­rian Na­tion­als’ mo­tion at the party’s re­cent Fed­eral Council meet­ing.

Ms Davey, who was rep­re­sent­ing the NSW Na­tion­als as one of its ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers, said while she does not sup­port the 450GL pol­icy on prin­ci­ple, sup­port­ing its aban­don­ment would have had far higher con­se­quences for the Mur­ray Val­ley.

‘‘The mo­tion from Vic­to­ria was a sim­ple mo­tion — to op­pose the 450 gi­gal­itres — and when I ini­tially read it I also op­posed it (the 450GL).

‘‘But I went to the min­is­ter (Fed­eral Agri­cul­tural Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud) and I asked him what it would mean on the ground if the mo­tion got up.

‘‘The min­is­ter is still bound by law re­gard­less of what the Na­tion­als do, and he said all the good work on off­sets would ground to a halt. He would be re­quired to re­cover the full 2750 gi­gal­itres in the (basin) plan by 2019.

‘‘It might mean get­ting out the cheque book (and buy­ing wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments) and I thought the risk (to the re­gion) was too high, so I voted against the mo­tion.’’

Ms Davey said she also sought ad­vice from for­mer Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce, who of­fered sim­i­lar ad­vice to his suc­ces­sor.

‘‘In the Mur­ray Val­ley, that full re­cov­ery by 2019 would be an ad­di­tional 200 gi­gal­itres (on top of what has al­ready been re­cov­ered from the val­ley),’’ Ms Davey said.

‘‘I said to the council that it hurt me to vote against the mo­tion, but I think the big­ger risk is an open cheque book.

‘‘I have had a few calls from peo­ple since the council meet­ing about the way I voted, because they did not know the con­text. I would never sell out this re­gion.

‘‘I spoke to the min­is­ter (Lit­tleproud) again af­ter the vote and he said he only needs to re­cover 62 gi­gal­itres of the 450 gi­gal­itres by 2019.

‘‘He has al­ready given an un­der­tak­ing that it will not come from farms in New South Wales, and that he is work­ing with the state gov­ern­ment to broaden the so­cioe­co­nomic neu­tral­ity and mak­ing it a stronger test.

‘‘He then has un­til 2024 to re­cover the rest of the wa­ter, and he knows there is no mood in New South Wales for wa­ter pur­chases.’’

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