THE Labor party will scrap the deal to deliver 450 gigalitres of 'upwater' to SA and remove the 1500GL cap on water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan if it gains power at the federal election.
In December, the federal and basin state governments signed an agreement to send 450GL of environmental 'upwater' to SA, with water recovered through efficiency projects. A key condition of the deal - advocated for by the Vic and NSW governments - was that there be only neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes of recovering this water.
Labor has announced it will restore the original socio-economic definition for delivering the 450GL to the system.
Related reading:Water Ministers sign off on historic socio-economic test
Federal opposition environment and water spokesperson Tony Burke was in Adelaide today and discussed the policy with state Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas.
"Federal Labor's reversal of Steven Marshall's dud deal on the River Murray is a big win for South Australians," Mr Malinauskas said.
"This announcement by federal Labor will importantly deliver 450 billion litres of much-needed water for SA, rather than pandering to the politics of the eastern states.
"This is now an opportunity for Steven Marshall to accept the recommendations of the Royal Commission and do the right thing by the River Murray."
Labor knows full well the neutrality test can't be changed without the agreement of the states.
But federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud slammed Labor's claim it would change the neutrality test on the 450GL as a "hoax".
"Labor knows full well the neutrality test can't be changed without the agreement of the states - this is a hoax," Mr Littleproud said.
"It took years of negotiation to finally deliver this agreement on our nation's biggest ever environmental project and nobody should be playing politics with it."
"The 1500GL buyback cap has not been reached so removing it is a stunt aimed at South Australian votes - but it rips certainty away from Basin communities."
As well as removing the buyback cap and changing how the 450GL in upwater would be delivered, Labor also wants to move compliance functions of the MDB Authority to the Environmental Protection Agency, renegotiate the agreement that determines how the Menindee Lakes are managed and conduct a review of climate change impacts on the Basin.