Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Environment and Water. Can the minister inform the house of recent announcements that demonstrate progress towards the full implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan?

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (14:50): I thank the member for Hammond for his question.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Cheltenham is called to order.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: It is always good to be able to update the house on the very successful progress being made towards the fulfilment of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan because this is good news for South Australia. It is good news for this government and very bad news for the opposition, of course, because they don't want good news for our environment. They don't want good news for the river. They want to continue that same pattern of screaming from the sidelines and causing chaos—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for West Torrens is called to order.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —in terms of federal, state and intrastate relations. What we have been able to see is progress that has flowed (excuse the pun) from the decisions made and the agreements forged—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the call.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —on 14 December 2018 at the ministerial council.

Mr Szakacs interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Cheltenham is warned.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: We are seeing that progress and real water starting to be agreed to, and that will flow across the border in a way that never occurred under the previous government.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: I have gone through it many times before in this house, but we are seeing a lot of repetition from the opposition today, so I can do some repeating as well. How much water did we see under the previous government? How much additional water?

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order, sir.

The SPEAKER: There is a point of order. One moment, minister.

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Again, sir, debate: talking about the previous Labor government is debate.

The SPEAKER: I have the point of order. Thank you, member for West Torrens. In fairness to the minister, there is a cacophony of noise coming from my left. I ask for that to cease. Minister, please get on with the answer. He has the call.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: Thank you as always for your protection, Mr Speaker.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call. I would like to hear his answer in silence, please.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: Of course, it is important to provide context as to the lack of success previously and what we are now heading towards. We saw last week an announcement of almost $130 million to go towards constraints projects. This was part of the agreement that was forged—

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Leader!

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —on 14 December last year, which would have been completely impossible under a Labor government. Constraints funding—

The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS: Point of order, sir: that's clearly debate.

The SPEAKER: I have the point of order. I will be listening carefully. As I have consistently pointed out, I will allow some compare and contrast with former governments and other approaches to this government, but I will be listening to ensure that the minister does not cross the line. The Minister for Environment has the call.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: Comparing and contrasting is very important when we talk about this approach.

The SPEAKER: To a level.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: The constraints measures, which have now been progressed, will see projects such as bridges, jetties, flood plain levies and the like improved so that environmental water can be delivered to South Australia. We know that we need more environmental water moving down the River Murray, but we can only do so in an effective way if we aren't flooding productive properties alongside the river and if we're not taking out bridges, jetties and other pieces of infrastructure.

There is $130 million that we have now seen signed into agreements last week between New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the federal government as the funding entity. This gives us an incredible opportunity to continue to move forward with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, delivering that critical environmental water and getting the key agreement from the other states that we needed so that we can start getting that water.

That water is coming because, as well as constraints measures—and the opposition won't want to hear this either because they have almost bet their reputations on the fact that water will not come as part of the efficiency program—we now have projects being constructed, being signed, that will deliver water towards that 450 gigalitres. The opposition said that wouldn't happen, and lots of their mates said that wouldn't happen as well, but that is now happening.

We've got projects out to tender in Victoria. A few years ago, when we had screaming from the sidelines and in Leigh Street, we would never have thought—

Mr Duluk interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Waite is called to order.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —that any projects in Victoria would be out to tender, that is, the Victorian government saying to their communities, 'Tell us what you can do to deliver efficiencies so that we can get water back in the river.' That is happening under the Marshall Liberal government. That is good for the river, it is good for our economy and, more than anything else, it is good for our natural environment.