ON WORLD WETLANDS Day (2 Feb), the NSW Labor Opposition demanded the NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro (MP for Monaro) back the environment and support the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP), 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 the wider environment.
Labor’s Shadow Water Minister Clayton Barr said that fact appears to be lost on 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.”
Barilaro grandstanding collides with NSW Minister for 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 Barilaro Bluster about the Murray Darling Basin Plan is creating incredible fear and uncertainty across regional NSW.”
Labor’s Shadow Environment Minister Kate Washington said Minister Barilaro is clearly talking to some political base ahead instead of considering the regions and what is best for communities and the environment.
“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.” Barilaro has been designated minister responsible for recovery.
Under NSW government structure, most of the natural resource portfolios have been handed to the Nationals and put under Primary Industries. Hence the newsworthiness of what the Nationals leader says.
Shadow Water Minster 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.”
The Nationals failure to back the MDBP risk NSW misses out on millions of dollars of Federal funding, says the NSW Opposition.
IMAGE: Murray River Pelican. (Hypervision Creative, Shutterstock)