THE SA government has reiterated the need for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be delivered in full, along with 3200 gigalitres of water to SA, as it releases the report from the SA MDB Royal Commission.
The report was handed to the government on Tuesday – several days earlier than expected – with the request from commissioner Bret Walker it be shared with the public, in full, as soon as possible.
Premier Steven Marshall said the government would not be providing a “rushed response” and was unlikely to respond to the report until later this year, as many of the issues raised occurred when the Liberal party did not hold office in SA.
He said he would be organising a meeting with other stakeholders in other states.
“The Department of Premier and Cabinet has been directed to co-ordinate the preparation of the SA government response to the report as a basis for pursuing discussion with the federal government and other basin states,” he said.
“Today I will also write to the Prime Minister to request a meeting of the COAG MDB First Ministers to consider the Royal Commission report and the recently-released Productivity Commission MDB Plan; Five-year assessment.
“My government is committed to implementing the full MDB Plan and will demand every drop of the 3200gL of environmental flow agreed by the Commonwealth and Basin States in 2012 be delivered.”
Mr Marshall said the health of the MBD was “critically important” to the tens of thousands of South Australians who lived and worked along the River Murray.
He said there was a shift in the focus of the Royal Commission.
“I note that when the Royal Commission was announced by the former state Labor government, South Australians were told the Commission’s focus would be investigating allegations of water theft in the MDB,” he said.
“This was not by any means the focus of this inquiry.”
To date South Australians have paid $5.062 million to conduct the MDB Royal Commission, with that figure expected to rise once final payments are made but still remain within the $8.5m budget.
Read the full report here.