CANBERRA (Australia): Prime Minister Scott Morrison has channelled Winston Churchill in defending Murray-Darling Basin Plan water sharing agreements between states.
Speaking at a bush summit in central west NSW, Mr Morrison addressed the contentious plan which manages the massive river system relied on by communities and farmers.
He paraphrased the former British prime minister’s quote about democracy being the worst form of government aside from others.
“Some might say it’s the worst agreement they’ve ever seen. That’s only true except for all the other alternatives,” he said.
The NSW Irrigators’ Council has called for a cut in the water South Australia receives from NSW in times of drought.
PM Morrison opposed the suggestions the federal government should step in and reform water-sharing arrangements.
“Anyone who thinks that the commonwealth has a magic wand which sort of says ‘this can happen or that can happen’, I think should read the history of the basin plan more carefully,” he said.
He argued that the basin plan was based on 100-year old agreements between states over which the federal government didn’t have power.
“If states are prepared to actually completely revisit what their entitlements are from 100 years ago well other things can be done,” Mr Morrison said.
“But I have seen no willingness from any states to revisit their rights under that agreement.”