One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts addressed farmer’s pleas at a water crisis meeting in Cobram on Friday, in an attempt to find a solution to the ongoing issues surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Senator Roberts acknowledged many farmers throughout Victoria and NSW were struggling and has sought response from people directly affected by the water crisis in order to better understand the situation.
“What we have seen from inside the Canberra bubble is that this Murray-Darling Basin Plan is based upon, beliefs, opinions, hearsay, myths, political vested interests and personal agendas,” he said.
“What the farmers want is an end to all that, they want to restore the science, they want to get back to measured data and physical observations and facts; they want an objective plan.”
Declaring the Murray-Darling Basin Plan situation a ‘national emergency’, Senator Roberts made it clear that he wanted to hear from distraught locals and make their voices heard in parliament.
“(One Nation leader) Pauline (Hanson) and I have a habit of getting out and listening to the people, and what we are doing is getting ideas,” he said.
“Not only ideas off farmers, businesses, community groups and industry entities but we are also getting ideas from the environment.
“Then we take the take the ideas back, shape something out of them, put them to the government and then twist their arm.”
With water prices skyrocketing at rates unfeasible for farmers to pay, Senator Roberts has pointed the finger at government and water speculators as the main factors which have contributed to the fluctuation.
“Number one, price is driven by Federal Government’s Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder,” he said.
“It is holding 28 percent of the water in the Murray Darling Basin - when you have a third of a market out, you are going to drive the price up.
“You have also got speculators driving the price up, they are holding water back until the price gets high and then they release it and they don’t have anything at stake.”