In mid-2017, former agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce approved a nearly $80 million buyback of water from Queensland.
He did this because the government had strict targets to reach thanks to Labor’s Murray Basin Plan that came into effect in 2012, in an effort to look after the environment, and ensure we were keeping our water systems healthy.
But this decision by Joyce has been under intense scrutiny, with critics asking why he would buy that particular water given it’s essentially floodwater, and not overly useful.
That, paired with the many weird coincidences, connections and links between MPs, the Liberal Party, and the company involved in the sale, makes the whole situation incredibly murky.
The Quicky delve into the government’s Watergate situation. Post continues after podcast.
A quick history.
Four million people rely on water from the Murray Darling Basin. It’s made up of 23 major rivers of which the water is used for irrigation, agriculture and drinking water.
So much of the Basin’s water is used, hardly any of it actually reaches the mouth of the system in South Australia.
You might remember shocking photos of millions of dead fish floating on the surface of the water in Menindee Lakes, which is a part of the Basin.
Basically that's due to lack of oxygen in the water, a byproduct of water mismanagement, as well as things out of our control like climate change and drought.
The Rudd government, back in 2008, created a Murray Darling Basin authority whose job it was to create a plan based on scientific research and the amount of water needed to keep the basin and river system healthy.
The plan came into effect in 2012. It gave all of the states and territories with stake in the system allocations of water, along with a series of goals they had to meet to help maintain the river system.