The Australian Labor Party have betrayed the people of the Murray Darling Basin while short-changing the environment at the same time. In what can only be described as an act of political bastardry, Labor has sided with the Greens to disallow the Northern Basin Review amendment.

Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA), President, Jeremy Morton said, “The betrayal by Labor for political expediency just leaves you feeling sick to the core. This decision makes all of us wonder why we bother to work in good faith on extremely difficult reforms like the Basin Plan only to return to the law of the jungle when political opportunity presents. To have Labor put politics ahead of science is simply astounding.”

The decision was taken despite firm commitments from the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to withdraw from the process. The way forward is unclear and has thrown reform weary communities under the political bus of perpetual uncertainty.

“We commend the Minister Niall Blair and Minister Lisa Neville for their clear and unequivocal statement on what a successful disallowance would mean. Withdrawing from the implementation of the plan has significant and profound implications for both Government’s and their basin communities,” said Mr Morton.

There is a glimmer of hope that common sense will prevail and the Northern Basin Review (NBR) amendment can occur later this year. The SDL adjustment also needs to be considered by parliament in May.

“While the significance of the disallowance cannot be understated, the Labor Party has an opportunity to work with the Government to get the Plan back on track. We urge Labor to keep the door open and find a way to allow the NBR amendments to occur and commit to allowing passage of the SDL adjustment amendments,” said Mr Morton.

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