Coat of arms

Deputy Government Whip in the Senate

Senator for South Australia

Joint Media Release
15 February 2018

Labor and NXT – the great pretenders

Today, South Australia’s future was sold down the river by the Labor Party and Nick Xenophon Team.

It is now clear that only the Turnbull Government is committed to putting the Basin Plan and health of the Murray-Darling before politics.

Save the Murray – the worthy goal of all South Australians – is in peril thanks to Labor and Xenophon.

The reckless actions of Labor and Xenophon put in jeopardy 1,000 billion litres of environmental water each and every year.

That’s less environmental flows, that’s more red gums dying, that’s more silting in the Murray Mouth, that’s less water for our Riverland irrigators, that’s less exports and ultimately, that’s less job for South Australians.

Labor and Xenophon pretend to stand up for the river while actively, wilfully and duplicitously destroying the Basin Plan.

Ever since Malcolm Turnbull passed the Water Act in 2007, as Water Minister in the Howard Government, we have been determined to see sustainability brought to the Murray-Darling.

In 2012 we backed the 3,200 gigalitre Basin Plan that the Gillard Government finalised, including the Northern Basin Review promised by then Water Minister Tony Burke.

Labor and Xenophon have now walked away from their commitments, joined with the Greens and turned their backs on the promises they made to get all parties and all states to agree to the Basin Plan in 2012.

We have been resolute in our commitment to see the 3,200 gigalitre Basin Plan delivered in full and on time.  And we remain committed to  the Plan.

After 11 years of bipartisanship the Plan has now been held hostage by short-sighted political stunts, ignoring the real risk that this betrayal will result in some states walking away.

When scientific facts don’t suit, Labor and Xenophon have undermined and sabotaged the aspirations of more than three million Australians who live and work in the Basin.

Spare a thought for them, the hapless victims of Labor’s strategy to play politics during the South Australian state election and their desperation to out-green the Greens in the Batman by election.

The Basin Plan is visionary, long-term policy that is delivering for all Basin communities and the environment.

The Coalition will continue to implement the Plan and we urge everyone to lay down their threats and to come back to the table to save the Plan.

Labor and Xenophon must immediately state their willingness to back science before politics in responding to the Northern Basin Review.  We also ask upstream states to not throw their Basin communities into endless uncertainty but to stay at the table while these issues are resolved.

The Turnbull Government and South Australian Liberals remain committed to the Basin Plan and anyone who is serious about a healthy Basin should join us in delivering the Plan not destroying it.


Senator Fawcett's media contact: Caroline Rhodes 08 8205 1040