The last few weeks have confirmed what we knew all along - the Basin Plan has very little to do with environments and communities.
It’s mostly about dirty politics and grandstanding.
Politicians, advisors and bureaucrats, state and federal, are ruthlessly jockeying for attention at the expense of people in regional Australian communities.
Water is being priced out of many agricultural commodities and then arbitrarily removed from communities, causing further instability and disruption.
What did we do to deserve this?
People living and working in irrigated areas have turned themselves inside out to try and accommodate the political process involved with the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Regional communities and industries did everything they possibly could to meet community, consumer and political expectations.
This has not been recognised. It is well past time to recalibrate and find practical solutions to this murky water mess. We would all benefit from a 10-year moratorium on water recovery in the Murray Darling Basin. Over the past 10 years we have suffered a highly disruptive revolving door of water bureaucrats and politicians.
Our hard-working rural people and their local environments need a well-deserved break.
Whole regions are being left ‘hanging in the balance’ and environments and communities like those on the Lower Darling ‘hanging out to dry’.
During an amnesty we would need a comprehensive Federal Royal Commission, which takes in all aspects of water management in all state and federal departments.
The Royal Commission should comprise a water audit, evaluate environmental conditions, challenge the status quo of the lower lakes, and interact with industry.
All recent federal and state water inquiry recommendations should be taken into account, including the nearly completed NSW State Government inquiry into the augmentation of water.
Strangling goose laying golden eggs
There are common, practical themes emerging from all those inquiries.
The promised socio-economic and environmental benefits have not been adequately addressed or delivered. We need common sense to be utilised to navigate us all out of this political chaos.
It’s time that opportunistic politicians and green bureaucrats were taken out of the conversation and suitably qualified people, including those in rural communities with skin in the game.