Legislative Council: Thursday, July 06, 2023


Water Buybacks

In reply to the Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) ().4 May 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Climate, Environment and Water has advised:

Given the failure of upstream states and successive coalition governments to deliver any meaningful water efficiency measures in the past decade, voluntary buybacks, by far the most efficient and cost-effective way to return environmental water to the system, will likely play a role in delivering the 450 gigalitres of environmental flows so far not delivered.

Royal Commissioner Bret Walker AO SC, in his report on the River Murray in SA, found there is no evidence to support claims that buyback programs hurt local economies and communities. This is because irrigators most often continue to retain some water holdings and because buybacks aren't concentrated on one town or region.

The Malinauskas government is working with the Albanese government to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full, including the 450 GL promised to South Australia.

Yes, I have met with representatives from South Australia's irrigation community.