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Leader of The Nationals, David Littleproud, and Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Water, Senator Perin Davey, said regional communities had been betrayed and torn apart in the Water Amendment (Restoring our Rivers) Bill 2023, supported by Independent Member for Indi Helen Haines.
“Dr Haines supported more buybacks, just minutes after telling Parliament how harmful buybacks would be in her region,” Mr Littleproud said.
“This Amendment Bill is damaging to regional communities and tears away bipartisan support. It doesn’t matter if water is taken from the north or south – this Bill will hurt regional Australians and impact food prices at the checkout for Australian families.”
“The Nationals support allowing an extension of time for recovering water to the environment through infrastructure, as the former Coalition Government was doing, but reverting to buybacks for the additional 450 gigalitres will hurt communities and drive up food prices.”
Senator Davey said resorting to buybacks was a handbrake on the bipartisanship, which had been a hallmark of the Basin Plan reforms since its inception in 2007.
“Due to the disgraceful lack of consultation with affected communities, The Nationals will continue fighting for our communities and will be pushing for the Senate Inquiry to directly engage with and hear the concerns of these communities firsthand,” Senator Davey said.
Mr Littleproud added Labor had torn up its original policy on the additional 450 gigalitres of
the Murray-Darling Basin plan and ignored the social and economic neutrality test,
protecting communities from water buybacks.
“By creating a new classification of water recovery under the 450 against which the social and economic test will not apply, Labor is effectively admitting that buybacks hurt communities.”


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