Labour Demands Nationals Back Murray Darling Basin Plan on World Wetlands Day

On World Wetlands Day, the NSW Labor Opposition has demanded the NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro back the Environment and support the Murray Darling Basin Plan, or resign himself from Government.

The majority of NSW wetland areas are along the waterways of the Murray Darling river systems and the entire MDBP is based on the need to get water into our environment.

Labor’s Shadow Water Minister Clayton Barr said that fact appears to be lost on Mr Barilaro and his Nationals colleagues.

“While all sides of politics have managed to be committed to the MDBP for more than a decade now, including NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, John Barilaro has spent the past six months making threats to pull out of the very same plan.”

Labor’s Shadow Environment Minister Kate Washington said Mr Barilaro is clearly putting politics ahead of policy and the environment.

“Under the MDBP, water that is held for the Environment is under the control and power of the State Minister for the Environment. This puts Liberal Environment Minister Matt Kean again at odds with Barilaro and his Nationals.”

The National Party’s failure to back the MDBP could now mean NSW misses out on millions of dollars of Federal funding.

Mr Barr said:

“The National Party continues to mismanage our most important resource – water. Successive National Party Water Ministers pushed the Darling River into drought three years early because they prioritised big irrigators before communities.”

“The Barilaro Bluster about the Murray Darling Basin Plan is creating incredible fear and uncertainty across regional NSW. His threat to tear it up is basically a plan to not have a water plan for farmers, communities or the environment. That’s about how shallow his words are.”

John Barilaro needs to stop making threats and start taking action – if he wants out of the MDBP then make it happen inside of his Cabinet, otherwise stop flapping his gums about it. His energy would be better spent making the MDBP work – it’s the only plan we’ve got.”

“The entire purpose of the Plan is to save the environment and leave water in the system. It’s unthinkable that a Deputy Premier of NSW would not be onboard with that. Here’s a free tip for John – Wetlands need to be wet!”

Ms Washington said:

“On World Wetlands Day, I am calling on the Minister for Environment to step in and stop the National party’s war on water. “

“The one lesson the Berejiklian government should have learnt out of this bushfire season, is that they must start looking after our environment. The last person that should be trusted to do it, is John Barilaro and his National Party mates.”