• Rikki Lambert

Labor's 450 gigalitre Murray pledge must be practical: River Liberals


Sussan Ley (right) speaks with Leeton citrus growers

Liberal MPs continue to stand at odds with the National Farmers Federation on 450 gigalitres more than the initial 2,750 target going over the border every year under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but insist it must be only delivered if river communities do not suffer.


Environment Minister and MP for Farrer taking in the lower Darling River and western NSW Murray, Sussan Ley, told Flow last week:

"Everyone knows that the 450 gig promise under Labor is simply a buy-back and they are effectively turning their back on every single farmer in the basin."
Yes we as a Coalition understand the 450 gigs but we've got tight controls around it which means it has to socially and economically acceptable to individuals and to communities and it can't take them backwards and that's so different from Labor's buy-back policy."

SA Liberal shadow minister for water, Nicola Centofanti, told Flow on Wednesday:

"We all want to see the 450 gigalitres delivered but this can't be done at the detriment of water communities." "When we were in government, we worked closely alongside the federal government to deliver practical projects for farmers to improve water efficiencies on their properties." "Importantly, the projects that focus on practical measures that farmers can take to become more efficient in their water use, actually creates business and job opportunities for other industries within their communities." "So, it can actually often have a beneficial socio-economic outcome for many of these river communities."

Ms Ley said Labor's policy was so bad, they had - prior to nominations closing on Friday - not declared a candidate in Farrer:

"I don't know who the Labor candidate running in the seat of Farrer is at the next election, no one has put their hand up and I have a fairly good idea why, because for someone to put their hand up in this seat and actually sell their Labor Party policy would be inexcusable and unacceptable to everybody."
"It just shows how awful that 450 policy is."

The AEC published declared candidates over the weekend, showing that Albury councillor Darren Cameron is, as expected, the ALP candidate for Farrer in 2022.


Labor's NSW branch and federal shadow water minister did not respond to enquiries.