The United Australia Party has vowed to abolish the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to return the once iconic river system to a healthy, sustainable and functional condition.
Farrer candidate for the United Australia Party Mike Rose said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan needed to be scrapped immediately to protect the system from corporate misuse and natural disaster.
‘‘The sight of a million dead fish was sickening to every Australian and a blight on successive governments who have continued to botch the management of our most treasured and iconic river system,’’ Mr Rose said.
‘‘Corporate interests are being put before the needs of Australians who rely on this river system. Governments have allowed this to happen and must now be held accountable.
‘‘We are the only party committed to abolishing the disastrous Murray-Darling Basin Plan, pausing the plan will do nothing and represents a waste of votes by the electorate.
‘‘It is shameful that famers are being forced off their land because they have no water allocation for next season and that our agricultural industry is on its knees. We need to save our food bowl, we need to be self sufficient again.
‘‘The rice industry, for example, was once an exporter of 1.4 million tonnes per year to more than 40 countries. Now the region exports only 50,000 tonnes and we are a net importer of rice.
Mr Rose said that the water policy was a direct cause for the loss of over 100 jobs from Sunrice Deniliquin.
‘‘This does not take into account the other spin-off business who have lost valuable income,’’ he said.
‘‘Apart from our farmers’ financial woes, mental health and people leaving towns, we also have to think about what we and our children and grandchildren are going to be eating from overseas imports.
‘‘By that I mean Australia is highly recognised around the world for our high quality control standards in food production.
‘‘Do you want to risk feeding your families and friends food that you have no idea as to how it was produced.
‘‘Both Liberal and Labor governments have caused this disaster and have no solution.
‘‘The United Australia Party will abolish the plan and take immediate steps to getting water to the farmers as an interim measure, pending the formulation of a new fairer plan for farmers and communities alike.’’