Liberals Continue to Fail SA on River Murray


The Morrison Government’s appointment of former NSW Nationals Leader Troy Grant as Interim Inspector-General of the Murray-Darling Basin is just the Liberals’ latest failure to stand up for South Australia.

The Inspector-General is supposed to restore confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Plan but a parochial political appointment will only entrench distrust and division.

Even the NSW Nationals recognise it’s the wrong appointment.

NSW Water Minister and Nationals MP Melinda Pavey has made clear that "NSW was not consulted on this appointment, and we oppose it on the basis that in the interests of bringing basin states together we must appoint someone who is bipartisan". She explained they "feel it is not in the interests of NSW to make appointments that could have the potential to force us apart at a time when we must come together".

But the SA Liberals are silent - including Simon Birmingham, who is in Scott Morrison’s leadership team. Clearly, they have given up fighting for South Australia and have handed the River Murray over to the Nationals and upstream states.

They gave the Water portfolio to the Nationals under Barnaby Joyce, who said South Australia didn’t have a “hope in Hades” of getting the water South Australia secured under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Since then, they have sat silently while the Plan to deliver the water the River and our state needs has been undermined at every turn.

In October, Senator Birmingham couldn’t even identify projects that would return the water to the River Murray required under the Plan.

Just last week, Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie tried to amend Labor’s motion standing up for the Murray Darling Basin Plan to falsely argue that:

  • Delivering the Murray Darling Basin Plan “would threaten the productivity and resilience of industries”; and
  • Delivering the water South Australia secured under the Plan would “result in significant socio-economic damage”.

The SA Liberals must choose. Their upstream mates or the state they’re supposed to represent.

Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.