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Water and Murray Darling Basin

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Labor and Coalition join forces to kneecap Murray Darling Basin Plan

The Australian Greens expressed disappointment that the Water Amendment Bill 2015 will now pass the Senate with the combined support of Labor and the Coalition.

The Bill sets an arbitrary cap 1,500 gigalitres of water the government can buy back from irrigators in order to ensure environmental flows.

"This Bill is all about Environment Minister Greg Hunt caving in to hardline Nationals. It's a bill all about politics, not good policy," Australian Greens spokesperson for water, Senator Rhiannon said.

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Speech: Water Amendment Bill 2015 second reading

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:44): The Water Amendment Bill is a sloppy piece of legislation. It is very confusing, and when you sit down and read it you really wonder what the purpose of it is. What is the intent? Clearly the government has an aim here. You start to wonder what the driver is. What is the political interest going on here? What was the intent of the Liberal and National Parties when they came up with this?

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Murray Darling Basin - Baldwin plan puts river health, communities at risk

Greens water spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has warned the Abbott-Truss government from using the stocktake of irrigation projects to justify winding up plans for retrieving water to ensure river health across the Murray Darling Basin.

"This stocktake looks like a ploy by Water Minister Bob Baldwin to justify the government's long term aim to allow big irrigators to retain water that should go back to the ailing river system," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Climate Change Authority)

Senator RHIANNON: In just sticking with the Commonwealth environmental water, is the government now favouring recovering water through subsidising irrigation upgrades?

Senator Birmingham: This government has always preferred investment in irrigation and infrastructure efficiency as the preferred means to recover water licences to go into the CEWO, whilst minimising social and economic impact, or at least providing some beneficial social and economic impacts.

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Speech: National Water Commission (Abolition) Bill 2014

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (10:45): The Greens do not support the amendments in the National Water Commission (Abolition) Bill 2014. The amendments do not improve the situation. We need to remember that this legislation is about removing the National Water Commission and that once the legislation has gone through that body is gone. The amendments that we now have before us to the Productivity Commission are not a saviour in any way at all, and that is what we need to be focusing on in this aspect of the debate.

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Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Department of the Environment)

Senator RHIANNON: Did somebody from the National Water Commission join a delegation of water managers from Australia to India in January of this year?

Mr McLoughlin : Yes. That was me.

Senator RHIANNON: That is wonderful. I understand that the official DFAT documents gave considerable coverage of the National Water Commission and its role in the water management success story in Australia. Is that how you would describe it?

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Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Murray-Darling Basin Authority)

Senator RHIANNON: I wanted to clarify some of the processes associated with the Living Murray and the Water for Rivers projects as supply measures. I understand that the Living Murray projects were already completed and operational, and that their environmental objectives were set prior to the Basin Plan. So I was wondering, how is it claimed that the environmental outcomes of these projects-the ones set prior to the Basin Plan-are additional. I am trying to understand how they are additional to the 2,750 gigalitres environmental base line.

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