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Uncertainty surrounds Southern Basin water buybacks

  • Written by The Times

The Albanese Government has today opened the Voluntary Water Purchase Program, with the Commonwealth launching its first tender to buy up to 70 gigalitres of water entitlements from willing sellers in parts of the southern Basin.

Shadow Minister for Water and Emergency Management, Senator Perin Davey said the move will have severe economic repercussions for communities reliant on irrigated agriculture.

“The decision to initiate an open tender buyback for 70 gigalitres without clear identification of the water sources or the intended use is extraordinary,” Senator Davey said.

“The lack of transparency in where this water will come from and how it will impact specific communities is alarming, as is the fact the Government will also not tell the Australian taxpayers how much of their money will be spent on this reckless water recovery.”

The released information reveals the Labor Government’s uncertainty about the origins and distribution of the recovered water, leaving communities in the dark about potential impacts.

“The tender information explicitly states there is no fixed volume to be recovered from each state, catchment, or water right type,” Senator Davey said.

“Yet, Minister Plibersek claims to have considered the social and economic impacts of the tender – a claim that is dubious when the affected communities haven’t been clearly identified.

“Regional councils and residents have legitimate concerns about the repercussions of these buybacks. They worry about the impact on local business, jobs, and the overall health of their communities.

“The future of our regional communities and the sustainability of our agriculture sector depends on balanced and thoughtful water management policies.”

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