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  • Rikki Lambert

Plibersek 'petrifies' Pasin ... on water

SA Liberal MP Tony Pasin (left) worries for the future of horticulture in the Murray-Darling Basin under Labor

The Albanese government's new cabinet may have resulted in what a regional MP implies is a demotion for former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, but she still poses a 'petrifying' prospect for the Murray-Darling Basin, he says.

South Australian Liberal MP Tony Pasin signalled his own interest in shadow cabinet having served an 'apprenticeship' on the backbench but said PM Albanese's pick for the environment and water porfolios was a demotion for Ms Plibersek:

"It's definitely a shunt sideways if not backwards for Tanya. She's gone from education to the environment and water, which is a less senior portfolio."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:

Even so, the MP whose electorate covers almost all of the South Australian Murray River to the ocean said he was 'petrified' of the new water minister's potential impact on river communities and primary producers:

"Getting the balance between production and protection is important. What we saw in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years was the pendulum swung much far too far in favour of protection and against production - farmers felt the brunt of that.
"I'm very concerned that Tanya Plibersek, who effectively is an inner city CBD member of parliament who faces a very strong challenge from the Greens in her own electorate, will be very strongly pro the environment at the cost of farmers.
"I'm petrified about her being in charge of our national water policy. She doesn't live in the Basin. It will be for her to convince me and others that she has an appreciation of the very complex nature of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement."

Mr Pasin told Flow the South Australian Liberal Party would hold two shadow cabinet positions in the imminent distribution of shadow portfolios after the Morrison-Joyce Coalition government's 21 May election loss:

"My focus is on what I've been asked to do by the people of Barker, something I'm humbled to do, is to represent their interests in the federal parliament. If others think there is a broader role I can play coincidentally with that role then I'll happily accept this task.
"I've certainly indicated to the leadership team that I think I've done a strong apprenticeship and the results at the election augur well for me and the work I've done."


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