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Singing from the same basin song sheet

Far from clear: How the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is delivered continues to be divisive. Photo by Getty Images

Victorian and NSW federal Nationals MPs along the Murray River say the Greens want to rewrite the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

By Thursday morning, the new Federal Government had not announced who would be the next federal water minister, after shadow water minister Terri Butler lost her seat at the May 21 election.

Greens South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement on May 24 that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese should appoint a South Australian as water minister, which would be “the biggest signal Labor can send that they won’t let the upstream states rule the river’s roost any longer“.

Labor said before the election it would deliver the 450 gigalitres for South Australia and increase compliance.

Nationals Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said Greens dictating policy and ministers to the newly elected government spelt disaster for the regions.

“The 450GL was never guaranteed ... it was always conditional on no negative socio-economic impacts to basin communities,” she said.

“That is why we moved amendments to remove the 450GL upwater and to remove water buybacks, to allow new 605GL offset projects, and no water be taken from communities until the plan is reviewed in 2024.”

NSW Senator Perin Davey said the plan should be about the whole basin.

“The basin plan should be about water management — not water recovery,” she said.

“Somewhere along the line it seems we forgot the original intent, which is to make the whole basin more resilient using flexible and adaptable management.

“There are a raft of natural physical constraints to delivery of water, which are yet to be resolved, yet both Labor and the Greens want to flush more water to the Lower Lakes without a care about the upstream environment.”