Premier urged to support Murray Darling Basin Communities

A wide cross-section of local government, community and industry groups have called on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to support communities in the state’s south-west.

The calls come as Federal Parliament resumes and Politicians face a decision on the next stage of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, with a vote due on a Disallowance Motion moved by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Goondiwindi Regional Council, Balonne Shire Council, the St George Chamber of Commerce, the Dirranbandi Progress Association, Queensland Farmers’ Federation, AgForce Queensland Farmers and other representative organisations have written to the Premier calling on the Queensland Government to urgently, publicly and unequivocally ask all Queensland Senators to oppose the Disallowance Motion and allow the amendments to the Murray Darling Basin Plan to stand.

Cr Fiona Gaske, Deputy Mayor of the Balonne Shire Council says the motion must be voted down.

“If successful, the Disallowance Motion will make a mockery of an extremely detailed three-year review by the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), and threaten the viability of communities and the livelihoods of hard-working farmers across the Northern Basin, including many in South-west Queensland.”

“The Disallowance Motion would result in the Northern Basin Recovery water recovery target increasing by 70 gigalitres (Gl), which would prompt further additional losses in rural economies – communities that are already struggling with the loss of 320Gl of water which is being recovered across the Northern Basin as part of the overall Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”

The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) own modelling demonstrates employment losses in communities across the Northern Basin will increase by 180, taking the total to 710 full-time jobs lost due to water recovery and buybacks.

Cr Gaske says the State Government should join local governments and very publicly show its support for jobs and better environmental outcomes.

“It is time for the Queensland Government to step up and make its position clear on the Murray Darling Basin Plan’s Northern Review.”

“Ms Palaszczuk’s Government should call on Queensland Senators to oppose the Disallowance Motion for the good of the communities in the state’s south-west.”