Senator Matt Canavan has urged Queenslanders to take part in the inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
“I particularly want to encourage people with a stake in the Murray-Darling catchment to make a submission and consider appearing at the inquiry hearing in St George on September 29.
“The first public hearing of the Senate inquiry away from Canberra will be in Queensland. This is our chance as Queenslanders to influence the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”
Senator Canavan emphasised that participation was not limited to people on the land.
“Everyone living in the Murray-Darling catchment has a stake in what’s happening under the MDBP,” he said. “The Murray-Darling Basin Plan takes water away from productive use and that means less irrigation and potentially reduced production – but that doesn’t just affect landholders.
“When farmers sell back their water entitlement, they get a cheque. But the hotel owners, the tyre shop owners, the agronomists, the Elders store, these people don’t get a cheque from the Government but their businesses rely heavily on the agricultural production that underpins the region.
“So, when you take the water away and take the agricultural production away from the catchment, these business people and their staff and families are all affected, so they all have a stake in the Basin Plan and deserve to be able to put their views forward to the inquiry.”
Senator Canavan said the Government remains committed to reducing the impacts of buybacks by imposing a cap on the amount of buybacks that can occur at 1500 GL.
“I hope the Senate will soon support the legislation imposing a buyback cap but there are also other things we need to manage, such as environmental works and measures, other forms of water recovery and constraints on management.
“I strongly urge all stakeholders to have their say, whether they live in St George, Hungerford, Goondiwindi, Tambo or Toowoomba, by making a submission and considering appearing at the hearing.”
Senator Canavan said further information about the inquiry – examining the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on regional communities – is available on the Australian Parliament website (at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Murray_Darling_Basin_Plan/murraydarling) The closing date for submissions is September 25. Anyone wanting to appear at the public hearing should telephone inquiry staff on (02) 6277 3228 or email [email protected]
Senator Canavan is a voting member of the Senate Select Committee on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.