A liberal senator in the state of South Australia has called on newly appointed environment and water minister, Tanya Plibersek, to visit communities across the Murray Darling Basin in order to have a greater “understanding” of rural and regional communities in Australia.
Speaking to Sky News host, Chris Kenny on June 2, liberal senator Anne Ruston said every community across the Murray Darling should be extending an invitation to Plibersek to ensure “that she gets out there and she sees the extraordinary importance and the value of these communities, and that making decisions a long long way from where the action’s happening is really fraught with danger.”
Ruston also criticised the appointment of Plibersek, an inner Sydney member, to be the nation’s water minister saying that “maybe” the centre-left Labor government prioritises “political and ideological outcomes that will make their people in the city happy, without any regard whatsoever about the impacts it’s going to have on our river communities.”
“The complexities of the issues that rural and regional Australia face in the Murray Darling Basin about making sure that we’ve got that great river system sustainably operating for the benefit of everybody—and that includes our farmers and our river communities.
“[The ministerial role] really does require somebody with a great understanding about what actually happens in rural and regional Australia,” Ruston said.
Plibersek wrote on twitter on May 31: “I’m delighted to be appointed a Cabinet minister in the new Labor Government with responsibility for environment and water. I look forward to the challenge.”
“Australia is lucky to be home to the most beautiful natural environments in the world, which we need to protect and preserve for future generations. Let’s get to work.”
I’m delighted to be appointed a Cabinet minister in the new Labor Government with responsibility for environment and water. I look forward to the challenge. pic.twitter.com/HMvT5uc92E
— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) May 31, 2022
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles told Sky news on June 2 that the environment and water has always been a “major priority” for Labor. While he dismissed commentary that Plibersek’s appointment was a demotion he added that the environment portfolio was “front and centre in terms of Labor’s agenda.”
The Epoch Times has approached the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for comment.
This comes as Australia’s inspector-general of water compliance, Troy Grant, recommended the new water minister intervene in speeding up the New South Wales Government’s submission of a Water Resource Plan under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Grant said on June 2 that NSW’s plan was three years’ overdue.
Currently, the inspector-general cannot enforce compliance without NSW’s plan, but said that the water minister can step in to adopt one that is prepared by the Murray Darling Basin Authority rather than the state, under the Commonwealth Water Act.
The “Murray Darling Basin Plan” sets the amount of water that can be taken from the Basin each year between the states of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
The plan also sets out the rules for how water is used at a local or catchment level, including limits on how much water can be taken from the system, how much water will be made available to the environment, and how water quality standards can be met.
Basin state governments are responsible for complying with water resource plans, and accounting for water taken from the river system, according to Murray Darling Basin Authority website.
The Basin is considered to be the “food bowl of Australia” and covers approximately 1 million square kilometres of south-eastern Australia.
Henry Jom is an Australian based reporter covering local Australia news.
Contact him at [email protected]
Source : The Epoch Times