Morrison and Marshall Governments must now release 7-months overdue desalination report

07 November 2019

The Commonwealth and South Australian governments must now release their 7 months overdue feasibility study, following today’s announcement that the Adelaide Desalination plant would be used to make up to 100GL of water available in the southern connected Murray-Darling Basin.

The South Australian Government agreed to provide a feasibility study to the Commonwealth into how the Adelaide Desalination Plant could be operated to reduce the use of existing River Murray water for metropolitan Adelaide.

The feasibility study was due to be provided by 29 March and is more than seven months overdue.

The Commonwealth must now obtain the study. Alternatively, if the South Australian Government has, in fact, already provided the study to the Commonwealth, then the Commonwealth should say so.

Either way, the long-overdue feasibility study must be released now.

The Adelaide Desalination Plan was built because Labor, in government, provided $328 million towards its construction. Labor governments plan for future drought and water infrastructure needs.

In contrast the Liberals and Nationals, now in their seventh year in government, have been dragged kicking and screaming to announce drought measures.

It comes after the head of the water markets inquiry, ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh, confirmed that the government has been asleep at the wheel on drought resilience:

HAMISH MCDONALD: Eight years ago, you chaired a Federal Government review of drought support measures, what’s your view of the current drought support system?
MICK KEOGH:  Well in that inquiry we were very strongly in favour of the farm household support system which basically makes sure that farmers that have got no income have food on the table without having to sell up.  I think that’s been quite an important factor in this drought, and that’s been good.
We did also recommend a range of other measures to increase preparedness, and I think unfortunately one of the facets of political cycles in Australia is that the only time drought policy is talked about is in extreme drought and unfortunately since 2013 there haven’t been any other serious measures to prepare better for the next drought and that’s where we are now.

ABC Radio National -  6 November 2019