By Terri Butler MP

27 May 2021

The Morrison Government’ss ongoing failure to deliver on the Murray Darling Basin Plan is cheating South Australians.

According to a report out today from the Australia Institute and Conservation SA, less than 0.5 per cent - or just 2.1GL of the 450GL required under the Water for the Environment Special Account has been recovered.

The cost of that 0.5 per cent is $68.1 million – 4.5 per cent of the available funds.

Under the Morrison Government the progress towards the 450 GL has been almost non-existent - last year an independent panel said the 450 GL will not be recovered on time. 

The Morrison Government needs to explain itself to Murray Darling Basin communities. It needs to satisfy everyone, including South Australians, that money earmarked for water recovery will actually deliver water recovery.

The $1.5 billion Water for the Environment Special Account was created for projects aimed at recovering an additional 450 GL of water under the Murray Darling Basin Plan – it secured South Australia’s participation in the Plan.

But a new report, out today, makes clear:

  • The Morrison Government is planning to spend the money on bridge upgrades and other projects in New South Wales.
  • Only 3 of the 34 existing proposals for spending the money specify potential water savings.
  • Of the 34 projects listed, only 3 specify the amount of potential water savings, with expected recovery to be between 7.4 to 9.2 GL of water.

All of the proposed irrigation infrastructure projects released by the Morrison Government to date are in New South Wales. 

Instead of funnelling money into pet projects in NSW, the Morrison Government needs to deliver on what’s been promised to South Australians.