SA Premier welcomes Murray-Darling Basin First Ministers meeting

The Marshall Liberal Government welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to hold a meeting of Murray-Darling Basin First Ministers at COAG in Cairns on August 9.

Premier Steven Marshall said this meeting would allow leaders from the Basin jurisdictions and the Federal Government to address important issues surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The health of the Murray-Darling Basin is critically important for the future of our state, in particular the South Australians who rely on the River Murray,” said Premier Marshall.

“On the day of release of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission Report I wrote to the Prime Minister requesting a meeting of Murray-Darling Basin First Ministers and I now look forward to August 9.

“It is important there is strong national leadership to deliver all aspects of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and South Australia continues to work constructively with Basin jurisdictions and the Commonwealth to deliver this vital plan.

“The meeting will allow First Ministers to discuss recent reports including the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission Report and the Productivity Commission’s Five-Year Assessment.

“The focus must now be on compliance, transparency and most importantly delivery of water – in line with the requirements of the plan.

“At the meeting South Australia will be pushing for the establishment of an independent umpire to help ensure the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Basin Governments are delivering what’s been promised.

“One of the key concerns of the current system is that government bodies are ‘marking their own homework’.

“South Australia is reliant on water being delivered under the plan and an independent umpire will help ensure everyone keeps their end of the deal.”

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said that while there was increasing activity across the Basin in 2019, there needs to be a continued focus from all relevant states and territories to lead to real action to deliver the plan.

“Since day one, the Marshall Liberal Government has been focussed on the implementation of the plan, working constructively with all Basin jurisdictions and the Commonwealth to deliver improved outcomes for our river and our communities,” said Minister Speirs.

“Our government is committed to the full implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and will continue to demand the delivery of environmental flow agreed to by the Commonwealth and Basin jurisdictions when the plan was first adopted in 2012.

“Whilst the plan is not perfect, it is the only plan we have got, and for it not to be delivered would be the worst result for South Australians and the Basin as a whole.

“We now have the plan back on track and with state and federal elections out of the way, we have some clear space to see real action to improve the overall health of the river system.”

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