Labor’s buyback plan an ‘epic failure’

Independent Member for Murray Helen Dalton says she wasn’t surprised by the announcement that Labor’s water buyback program has failed to find enough farmers willing to sell their water to the government.

In March 2023, Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said she was confident she would be able to buy 44.3 gigalitres of water from willing sellers.

Late last week the government was been forced to admit it has failed to reach its target by a staggering 40 per cent, having only been able to secure 26.25GL of water.

“Tanya Plibersek’s scheme was never going to work,” Mrs Dalton said.

“She talked a big game, but clearly she has lost that game.”

“Tanya might have been confident, but that’s not the same thing as being competent.

“I’m just glad she wasn’t able to buy all the water she wanted given she was just going to send that water to South Australia’s Lower Lakes where it would either evaporate or be flushed out to sea.”

Mrs Dalton said the fact is, farmers aren’t willing to sell their water because they know if that water is lost from regional communities, those communities will be destroyed.

“Many farmers just won’t do that to the towns and regional communities they love,” Mrs Dalton said.

“It’s time Tanya Plibersek admitted that she’s incapable of delivering the water buybacks she promised.

“When is Prime Minister Anthony Albanese going to realise his water minister is out of her depth and needs to be sacked from the ministry.

“Rather than destroying regional communities, the Albanese Government should be helping communities to survive by making sure they have the water they need to survive and flourish.

“These buybacks were always an appalling idea, and they never should have been pursued.”