MURRAY Darling Association and Member for Farrer Sussan Ley have found common ground when it comes to the future of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
MDA national president David Thurley and Ms Sussan Ley met in Albury recently to discuss the electorate’s position on the plan.
The two elected members were reported to be ‘‘at odds’’ over responses to the Senate vote to disallow the Northern Basin Amendment which would reduce the water recovery target in the northern basin from 390GL to 320GL.
Both staunchly supported the amendment but Ms Ley had urged the NSW Government to withdraw from the plan while Cr Thurley and the MDA councils had called on governments to stay the course and reach agreement on a way forward.
Cr Thurley said local governments in the electorate of Farrer were outraged by the Senate vote but didn’t want to see the plan fall apart.
All 13 local government areas within Farrer are members of the Murray Darling Association from Wentworth in the west to Greater Hume in the east.
‘‘The councils we represent across the electorate have told us their communities have already given too much and come too far to walk away from the plan now,’’ Cr Thurley said.
Ms Ley said a reliable, working basin plan was ‘‘the first best option’’ but she could not abide by a ‘‘political exercise’’ that created further uncertainty in the communities she represents, particularly given the threat of a second disallowance motion against the 605GL of Sustainable Diversion Limit projects.
‘‘I can’t stand by while my communities in the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys are threatened by more buybacks after already losing so much water,’’ Ms Ley said.
Cr Thurley said the Senate had shown a disappointing lack of regard for the principle of adaptiveness which underpins the basin plan, and in doing so had created grave uncertainty, and put at risk millions of dollars’ worth of project investments for the region.
‘‘The best way to restore confidence in the plan is for basin governments to stay the course and work together on implementing the plan, which at the moment means reaching agreement on the Northern Basin Amendment and the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism.’’
Both leaders agreed the plan was the best option for achieving positive and balanced outcomes for communities, the environment and regional economies, and it must be reliable and accountable in its implementation.