By Terri Butler MP and Rose Jackson MLC

Today’s water announcements from the Morrison-Joyce and Perrottet governments show the extent of their serious delays and mismanagement.

In April this year, an independent report told the Morrison-Joyce government that more than a quarter of the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism projects, by volume of water to be offset, would not meet the June 2024 due date.
Those projects, accounting for 26.5% (160.5 GL) of SDLAM offset volumes, were beset by delays.
Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt today announced a so-called “fast tracking” of expenditure on five projects in the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee, arising from the delay and cancellation of previously announced and now dumped projects. 
Today’s announcements are not “fast tracking”, they are announcements from panicked governments that are well behind and scrambling to catch up.
Any investment in delivering the Murray Darling Basin Plan is welcome. But today’s announcements fail to answer the ‘how, when and how much’ questions, that remain central to the plan’s success.

None of these projects will be successful without addressing the fundamental issue of ensuring there is sufficient water in the rivers, and the plans properly account for the impact of climate change.

Both governments must consult with local communities in relation to today’s announcements.
And they must immediately work with the affected First Nations communities, who have been significantly affected by the issues on the Baaka River.
They should also finally deliver on the $40 million in cultural water funding they promised three years ago, but have not delivered.
The policy failures in the Murray Darling Basin are piling up for the Morrison-Joyce Government.
Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce recently demoted Water Minister Keith Pitt from Cabinet in political payback for not supporting Mr Joyce’s chaotic leadership bid.
Australians also recall that Barnaby Joyce was responsible for the controversial “Watergate” purchases which saw a Caymans-based company make a record profit.
Whether its Australia’s water policy vacuum, the bushfires, climate action, or his pandemic mismanagement, Scott Morrison’s response is always the same: “it’s not my job”, “it’s matter for the states”, “I don’t hold a hose”.
After eight long years of inaction and incompetence, Australians just can’t trust Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce’s Coalition of chaos with water.