Labor pledges to scrap buy back cap

The Federal Opposition has announced it plans to remove a cap on water buy backs from Murray-Darling Basin irrigators.

Labor’s water spokesman Tony Burke said that the announcement would allow the government to ensure greater environmental flow.

“By removing the cap we are making clear that if we end up having to provide more water for the rivers then this will not be a barrier to doing this,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said that the plan, agreed to by the party earlier this week, will be introduced in a private member’s bill before Senate in the coming days.

The announcement was welcomed by conservation groups, with the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Nature Policy Analyst James Trezise saying that the move comes at a critical time for the health of the basin.

“ACF welcomes moves by the Greens and Labor to remove the cap that stops willing sellers from returning water to the environment and we call on the Coalition to support these moves too,” Mr Trezise said.

“It has been shown time and time again that purchasing water from willing sellers is the most effective and efficient way to return water to our rivers and wetlands.”

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