MEMBER for Farrer Sussan Ley fears a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan will end up with water removed from the southern Riverina.
The Liberal MP raised her concern at a NSW Farmers election forum in Deniliquin on Monday night which was dominated by questions on water.
"The Royal Commission is what worries me most because with terms of reference that are written by the Labor Party, by the Greens, we don't know what we will get in terms of water that is taken away, more water, that is taken away from this region," Ms Ley said.
Independent candidate Kevin Mack repeated his support for a Royal Commission and to pause the plan.
"It will give a fairer allocation of water and provide some sanity to the current debate that is going on," Mr Mack said.
Labor contender Kieran Drabsch said that a pause was a "pipedream built on a mirage".
"We do need to stop the Barnaby Joyce specials, we need to stop our friends in the Coalition at the moment spending millions of dollars buying water that actually isn't going back into the system," Mr Drabsch said.
Greens hope Dean Moss said there was no easy fix.
"We need the Royal Commission, we need to take corruption out of this plan," Mr Moss said.
United Australia Party shot Mike Rose wants the plan axed and 5000 megalitres a day sent down the Murray River from Lake Hume.
Liberal Democrat Mark Ellis rejected a Royal Commission as it "put $100 million in the pockets of lawyers".
Ms Ley argued the best way to tackle problems with the plan was by changing existing regulations.
"What about some new rules in the system that say 'well you can't run the Barmah Choke above 8000 megs a day'," she said.
"What about a focus on delivering an answer in response to changing the rules about losses, so that while we socialise the losses in delivering 100 megs down the river, just the same as we deliver 100 megs here, that's not fair."
Candidates were divided over a Productivity Commission recommendation that the Murray Darling Basin Authority be split into regulatory and administrative divisions.
Ms Ley and Mr Drabsch backed the idea, while Mr Mack and Mr Moss rejected it in favour of larger reform.
"How can you split the MDBA up into two divisions when you've got a flawed plan in the first place," Mr Mack said.
The audience at the Denilquin RSL became most animated when Mr Drabsch spoke of the Labor Party's approach to water buybacks.
He said water licences would only be bought from willing rather than distressed sellers.
An attendee responded "rubbish".
"Look I'm just telling you how it is, the reality is there will be water purchases but they won't be compulsory, they'll be voluntary, they will be from willing sellers and they won't be from distressed sellers," Mr Drabsch said.
"We're all distressed," replied another audience member.
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