FEDERAL Water Resources Minister David Littleproud has warned that any attempt to "blow up" the Murray-Darling Basin Plan would only result in a "worse" situation for basin communities.
Speaking in Murray Bridge, where he was supporting fellow Nationals candidate Miles Hannemann in the seat of Barker, Mr Littleproud said the Labor party's confirmation that it would guarantee delivery of 450 gigalitres in environmental water by removing the cap on buybacks and reverting to the original socio-economic test was "dog whistling during an election".
This week, opposition water spokesperson Tony Burke said the federal Coalition government had failed to properly implement the Basin Plan and take water reform seriously, which had caused an "ecological disaster" in the river system.
"There is no doubt action needs to be taken and it needs to be comprehensive," he said.
A new Labor policy document identified infrastructure projects state governments are required to deliver by 2024 under the Basin Plan.
"A Labor government will strengthen the 2024 reconciliation process and buy back any water required if the projects that aim to deliver 605GL of environmental benefits fail to deliver the full amount of environmental benefits," its policy said.
The projects are intended to ease pressure on irrigators by reducing the amount of buybacks by 605 gigalitres, while using infrastructure upgrades to deliver the equivalent benefits of water saving to the environment.
Mr Burke said in February new evidence on climate change could create a case to raise the volume of water to be recovered from irrigation under the Basin Plan.
But Mr Littleproud said the Coalition had already delivered a "historic agreement" on the management of the MDBP with agreement from all states and the Commonwealth on sustainable diversion limits, the northern basin review and agreement on the existing 450GL social test.
"If you tear it up now, there has been just on 2100GL returned (to SA) and you'll get nothing more if the plan blows up," he said.
"We're better off to continue a calm and methodical approach, adjusting if we need to, making sure there is greater transparency to the plan."
He said the final legislation had been passed, and all states were in agreement moving forward.
"The 450GL can only be changed with the support of the states and anyone who thinks they can get around the states, they don't understand our constitution," he said.
"The ownership of resources is with the states."
Centre Alliance has also announced its intentions to push for MDB management to be in Commonwealth hands.