The comments of Liberal Democrat Tim Quilty (Border Mail 13 September 2019) that he was disappointed that fellow members for Northern Victoria including myself, Labor’s Mark Gepp and Jaclyn Symes and Justice Party’s Tania Maxwell had not voted for his motion to withdraw from the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) are dangerous, misleading and disingenuous.
What Mr Quilty failed to say was that he and his Liberal Democrat Colleague voted for the amendment to his motion that was moved by myself on behalf of the Coalition. He did this because he realised it would have delivered a far better result for Victorian Irrigators than his own motion. Had our amendment passed it would have superseded Mr Quilty’s own motion.
Mr Quilty’s motion called for Victoria to withdraw from the MDBP completely. To do this would be devastating to Victorian Irrigation Communities as it would allow the Commonwealth to have unfettered access to purchase more of Victoria’s High Reliability Water.
If Mr Quilty’s motion had passed the current plan would have stayed in place and Victoria would not have had a seat at the table which would be highly dangerous.
The Coalition acknowledges that the current plan is not perfect and our irrigators are hurting. That is why we moved an amendment to Mr Quilty’s motion to remove the words ‘withdraw from’ and instead call for a ‘redraft’ of the MDBP. We also included a point to highlight that the ‘450GL of up-water cannot be delivered without doing irreparable social and economic damage to Victorian communities or without flooding private property’.
Three out of the five Members for Northern Victoria (myself, Mr Quilty and Ms Maxwell) voted to adopt the Coalition’s motion and only the two Labor members (Jaclyn Symes and Mark Gepp) voted against.
Mr Quilty’s simplistic motion just calling to withdraw from the plan has demonstrated the dangers of electing Independent’s and minor parties who will say or do anything for a headline but never have to consider the ramifications.