Why has La­bor be­come anti-jobs?

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

The de­struc­tive anti-ru­ral and anti-jobs ac­tions of fed­eral La­bor have been slammed by a com­mu­nity group.

It has called on ru­ral based La­bor can­di­dates in up­com­ing state and fed­eral elec­tions to take a firm stand against the party’s fed­eral Shadow Wa­ter Min­is­ter Tony Burke.

Mr Burke says a cap which pre­vents Gov­ern­ment from buy­ing more wa­ter from the na­tion’s food pro­duc­ers would be re­moved un­der a La­bor Gov­ern­ment.

The cap was in­tro­duced be­cause of the dam­age be­ing caused to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing mas­sive job losses.

‘‘What­ever hap­pened to the La­bor Party that pro­tected jobs for Aus­tralians?’’ Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar said.

‘‘Has fed­eral La­bor aban­doned the bush, its com­mu­ni­ties and the peo­ple who put food on Aus­tralia’s ta­bles? This ap­pears noth­ing other than po­lit­i­cal op­por­tunism to try and win en­vi­ron­men­tal votes in mar­ginal city seats, and keep on side with South Aus­tralia which is un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure for its bla­tant waste of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter.

‘‘I’m sure it was no co­in­ci­dence that Mr Burke made his shock an­nounce­ment on ra­dio in Ade­laide, where La­bor has im­por­tant seats to win in the up­com­ing elec­tion. But we’re sick and tired of politi­cians like Mr Burke us­ing our jobs and com­mu­ni­ties as po­lit­i­cal fod­der.’’

Mrs Scoullar con­grat­u­lated La­bor’s Vic­to­rian Wa­ter Min­is­ter Lisa Neville, a long­time ad­vo­cate for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties ad­versely af­fected by the Basin Plan, who re­sponded to Mr Burke’s com­ments by tweet­ing ‘‘We have al­ways sup­ported the cap and don’t want to see it re­moved.’’

Mrs Scoullar said tra­di­tional La­bor sup­port­ers must be hor­ri­fied at the party’s will­ing­ness to sac­ri­fice jobs and de­stroy ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Re­duc­ing the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of the most ef­fi­cient, clean green farm­ers in the world is surely not La­bor pol­icy? La­bor used to stand for jobs and em­ploy­ment, but it seems the party is now pre­pared to rip the heart out of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, which is one of the largest and most re­li­able cre­ators of em­ploy­ment in the na­tion.

‘‘It is also dis­ap­point­ing that Mr Burke, the ar­chi­tect of the Basin Plan, still doesn’t un­der­stand the prob­lems and how to fix them. It also seems he has for­got­ten what he told the Na­tional Press Club when he was Wa­ter Min­is­ter.

‘‘He said: ‘. . . once you go be­yond the 2750 (gi­gal­itres re­cov­ered), with the con­straints in the sys­tem for ex­tra gi­gal­itres of wa­ter you don’t get a sig­nif­i­cant en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ment’.

‘‘It seems po­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient that Mr Burke pre­vi­ously un­der­stood the con­straints is­sue, which we have been try­ing to high­light con­stantly, but now ap­pears more in­ter­ested in ap­peas­ing South Aus­tralia.’’

Mrs Scoullar said rather than try­ing to win votes, ev­ery politi­cian should be look­ing for so­lu­tions to fix the Basin Plan mess which has been cre­ated.

This should start with stan­dard­ised me­ter­ing and com­pli­ance across the Basin, to the stan­dard which ex­ists in the Mur­rumbidgee, Mur­ray and Goul­burn Mur­ray re­gions. The next step would be fix­ing prob­lems at the end of the sys­tem, in­clud­ing re-di­vert­ing flows from the south-east of SA into the south­ern Coorong and in­stalling Lock Zero which will not only help com- mu­ni­ties up­stream but also pro­vide se­cu­rity for Ade­laide’s crit­i­cal needs.

‘‘If Mr Burke was se­ri­ous about fix­ing the en­tire Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin, he would not be pan­der­ing to the South Aus­tralians, but in­stead de­mand­ing they stop us­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter for recre­ational needs, and also start util­is­ing their fed­er­ally funded de­sali­na­tion plant in­stead of re­ly­ing on Mur­ray River sup­plies,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.

‘‘Of course he won’t do that be­cause he’s more in­ter­ested in win­ning mar­ginal seats than re­pair­ing the en­vi­ron­ment that his po­lit­i­cally-driven Basin Plan has been com­plicit in de­stroy­ing.

‘‘Lift­ing the cap on buy­backs will only bring more spec­u­la­tors into the wa­ter mar­ket and would be the nail in our food bowl’s cof­fin.

‘‘If Mr Burke and his fed­eral La­bor coun­ter­parts want to con­tinue down this path, we be­lieve it is time for Vic­to­ria and New South Wales to with­draw from the Basin Plan and com­mit to pro­tect­ing the in­ter­ests of their hard­work­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.’’

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