Murray-Darling stoush helps no-one
The standoff continues between State and Federal Governments on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The Queensland and New South Wales Governments believe the current deal on offer leaves them holding the short straw, and now say they won’t sign up until they are offered a fair compromise.
The Federal Government’s plan is technically legally binding, so there may not be a great deal the States can actually do. Jonathan La Nauze from the Australian Conservation Foundation says, “The Commonwealth now has the power to set limits on how much water can be taken out of river valleys... that's an important independent power that they have to look after our shared interests”, “but those rivers are still managed on a day-to-day basis by State Governments. They're the ones who actually own and manage most of the dams and the channels, the regulators that control where water flows... if the Commonwealth actually has to intervene and force them to comply, it'll be quite an expensive exercise that's really not the best way to achieve the outcome”.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman seems resolute in his stance, saying the Plan would have dire consequences for rural communities, and he won’t accept funding or take responsibility for implementing the plan until changes are made.
Ultimately the states must conform to the Federal Government’s impositions, reports say that trying to impede progress would only chew up taxpayer funds before finding in the Commonwealth’s favour.