An admission that potential political damage to the Liberal Party in Adelaide is the key reason for lack of Federal Government action on water policy changes must become a “point of reset” for The Nationals.
While it has been widely believed the Commonwealth Government will not fix water management problems because it wants to protect Adelaide votes, this stark admission from within its ranks has been labelled “the time The Nationals must stand up for rural Australia, or forever be admonished”.
This view has been expressed by Jodie Hay, who is spokesperson for the Central Murray Floodplain Environmental Group and a member of Southern Connected Irrigators and Communities (SCIC), which traverses the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
They follow comments this week from Nationals’ Member for Nicholls Damian Drum who said those seeking to make changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and water policy should not be targeting his party because “it is the Liberals that are holding things up” as they are worried changes “might do a bit to them in Adelaide”.
Mrs Hay said rural communities across the Basin have been screaming out for years that politicians need to stop playing politics with the livelihoods of farmers and the communities which depend on them.
“It is time for the National Party, in particular its leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, to stand up to the Liberals. Farmers and communities are being destroyed by appalling water management, driven by a Basin Plan built on false science for Liberal Party political gain. That is now clearer than ever.
“When in opposition, Michael McCormack strongly opposed the plan, but since he has been given the plumb job of Deputy PM he has been prepared to sit back and watch his constituency suffer, with barely a whimper.
“If he does not have the courage to stand up to Prime Minister Morrison he should stand down. At this vital time of economic rebuilding we cannot have the prosperity of rural communities being compromised by a weak Coalition partner. It appears that’s what we have at present,” Mrs Hay said.
She said there have been more than 100 reports into the Basin Plan, most of them highlighting numerous flaws and making numerous recommendations. But none get implemented, obviously because the Prime Minister is more concerned about Adelaide votes than the food bowl of the nation.
“The latest report on the social and economic damage of the Basin Plan is sitting on the Minister’s desk, amid concern the Government does not want it released because it paints a sorry, but true, picture of what is happening under this appalling policy.
“The time for political posturing is over. We must have a reset – draw a ‘line in the sand’, as Nationals Senator Perin Davey said recently. What a sorry state our nation has reached when the party which once stood for rural Australia is not prepared to stand up for those who have been its backbone for generations,” Mrs Hay said.