Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Six days to go in Murray Darling Basin consultation

Media release
11 April 2012

Last week I called for Tony Abbott to come clean on what his conditions were to support water reform in the Murray Darling Basin.

If his support is conditional he cannot get away with keeping those conditions secret.

The public consultation period is his chance to come clean with the public.

In a response the Coalition sent me yesterday there is still no indication whether the Coalition would support the draft plan or what sort of modified Plan they would support.

The response provided 421 words without answering a single question.

We did learn one thing from that letter though, it wasn't signed by Tony Abbott. The letter came to me from Barnaby Joyce.

On Thursday, representatives from Labor, the Coalition and the Greens will debate water reform in Adelaide.

Senator Simon Birmingham will be there, but will Barnaby Joyce, the Shadow Minister for Water turn up?

The last time the Adelaide Advertiser held an event he was lurking in the shadows and taking care not to get in view of the cameras.

It seems that Barnaby Joyce is the puppet master of water policy in the Coalition. He stays hidden from view quietly controlling Tony Abbott’s views on water policy.

South Australians have a right to know what, if anything, Tony Abbott believes on this.

Will they support the Plan when it comes before the Parliament?

Labor has been very clear. We support reform for the Murray Darling Basin that delivers healthy rivers, strong regional communities and sustainable food production.

Labor will be supporting water reform when it comes before the Parliament.