Tell Senate why it should can the plan
As a follow up to last Wednesday’s public meeting in Barham, local stakeholders are being encouraged to compile individual submissions on their views of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan as part of the recently announced Senate inquiry into its implementation.
An estimated crowd of more than 1000 people attended the meeting, where they aired their concerns to a Senate select committee of crossbenchers chaired by Senator for NSW David Leyonhjelm.
Senator Leyonhjelm said sub- missions received must be ‘‘clear, concise and offer solutions’’ to the Basin Plan, which proposes to remove 2750 gigalitres of water from productive use for the environment.
‘‘We don’t want ranting, we want a description of problems and solutions centred around specific issues of community concerns,’’ he said.
Senator Leyonhjelm referred to an article he submitted to the
newspaper in 2012, headlined ‘How much water does the Murray actually need?’
The article debated the transfer of Murray-Darling water from human activity to the en- vironment, which he says ‘‘overlooks a very important point’’.
‘‘How can you prove the environment is receiving enough? I asked that in 2012 and I’m asking that now,’’ he said.
‘‘I haven’t changed my view, it’s vital we maintain agricultural production.’’
Senator Leyonhjelm said the Senate select committee won’t be controlled by either political parties, which he says is a positive as the inquiry will focus on the ‘‘real facts’’.
‘‘We have a bit invested here . . . I’ll be asking the benefits of costs and the benefits of this plan. For this inquiry, I’ll be fair dinkum,’’ he said.
Deniliquin mixed enterprise farmer Louise Burge said the meeting was an ‘‘important opportunity ’’ for the crossbenchers to listen to community concerns surrounding the Basin Plan.
‘‘Not all the crossbenchers who attended the meeting will be on the final Senate select committee, but these crossbenchers play a pivotal role in passing legislation in the current Federal Government,’’ she said.
The make-up of members of the Senate select committee are still being finalised.
It is still to be announced when and where submissions are to be directed to.