MAYO ELECTION 2019: The Times asks for candidates' views on environmental issues

The Times asked each candidate for the seat of Mayo for a 200-word response to the question: What is the biggest environmental issue facing Mayo? What will you and your party do to address it?

ANNE BOURNE - THE GREENS

ANNE BOURNE - THE GREENS

ANNE BOURNE - THE GREENS

In Mayo the critical environment issue right now is the health of the Murray, with many voters concerned about loss of environmental flows and devastating impacts on our agriculture and tourism industries.

The handling of the Murray Darling Basis Plan over the last few years has been a disaster. We have seen water theft, non-compliance and corruption, meter tampering, towns without clean drinking water and a million dead fish.

How did that happen? How could a $13bn plan be so mismanaged that the river is in a worse position now than at the time of the Millennium drought?

The Greens will lift the freeze on water buybacks and get more water back for the environment, to support local agriculture and communities. We are calling for a Royal Commission that will investigate the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basis Plan and establish a way forward to renew the river system.

More broadly we need to work to restore what has been damaged in our environment and agricultural land.

The Greens have budgeted for a 10,000 strong workforce of trained qualified environmental managers across the country, to protect and restore our environment and achieve social and economic benefits at the same time.

HELEN DOWLAND - ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY

HELEN DOWLAND - ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY

HELEN DOWLAND - ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY

The environment is the exquisite setting of all plant and animal life.

Its complex existence has acted on, for millennia, evolution so that every detail becomes interdependent on every other detail millions of times over.

What makes Australia so special is isolation.

Due to its isolation some of its most beautiful plant and animal life is unique in the universe.

We know the sort of details the Australian environment's made up of, from exquisite little marsupials so small you can hold them in the hollow of your palm to as large as our glorious great kangaroos, standing taller than an athlete, that can bound faster than a car for an hour or more and much faster than that for short bursts. Such immeasurable wonderful variety.

Habitat loss due to land clearing is the worst threat on land, causing the loss of thousands of animals a day.

And animal agriculture is the biggest cause behind the 'need' for land clearing.

The Animal Justice Party advocates for a plant-based diet as an essential part of our Environment Policy to reduce this threat.

We believe no organisation or government can have an effective environment policy without a food policy being central and specific to it.

GEORGINA DOWNER - LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

GEORGINA DOWNER - LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

GEORGINA DOWNER - LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

The most important environmental issue for Mayo, and for all of South Australia, is the need for effective and balanced water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Liberal Government is committed to implementing the Basin Plan in full and on time.

It's extremely important that all jurisdictions, stakeholders and political parties continue to support this crucial reform.

In response to the concerns of many in the Mayo community, it is pleasing to see the Morrison Government's commitment to improve the transparency of water management in the Basin, by commissioning the ACCC to review the southern connected Basin's water market, and allocating $26 million for hydro metric and remote sensing in the northern Basin.

This comes on top of recently announced measures such as $9 million to enhance the Murray Darling Basin Authority's compliance capacity, and $25 million to accelerate irrigation meeting in the northern Basin.

The river is South Australia's most important natural resource, and it is the communities in Mayo at the end of the Murray that have the most to lose if the Basin Plan is not implemented, or when water users do not comply with the law.

I'll always stand up for the Murray and my community.

REBEKHA SHARKIE - CENTRE ALLIANCE

REBEKHA SHARKIE - CENTRE ALLIANCE

REBEKHA SHARKIE - CENTRE ALLIANCE

The biggest environmental challenging facing Mayo is climate change. Our climate is becoming hotter, drier, and more prone to volatile storms and bushfires. Climate change is threatening our shorelines with coastal erosion and is contributing to the crisis facing our Murray.

We desperately need to end the climate wars between the major parties and achieve a consensus on climate change and energy policy that survives more than one Prime Minister. The lack of policy certainty has destroyed investment in our energy sector and is putting upwards pressure on energy prices.

Renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels and the cost of battery storage is rapidly falling. The transition to renewable energy is an economic inevitability that makes it even more foolish to attempt risky drilling in the Bight. Ideally, Australia would adopt the emissions intensity scheme originally backed by Malcolm Turnbull and Nick Xenophon in 2009. This would encourage the market to shift from high-pollution to low-pollution sources of energy.

I formed the Parliamentary Friends of Climate Action to bring climate change science to politicians of all political persuasions. From the sensible centre, I and Centre Alliance will continue to help facilitate consensus on any reasonable climate policy.

SASKIA GERHARDY - AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

SASKIA GERHARDY - AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

SASKIA GERHARDY - AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

This year we have seen extraordinary summer heat waves and an Autumn dry that has only just broken.

Our irrigators have been told they are likely to get just 14 per cent of their normal water allocations and there have been unprecedented fish kills upstream and allegations of water theft.

These are stark reminders of how important it is Australia elects a government prepared to stand up for the Murray River and take climate change seriously.

South Australian farmers and communities have been continually disappointed by this government, while the signs of environmental crisis keep mounting.

Only Labor will ensure the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is delivered in full.

We will lift the arbitrary cap on buybacks and reverse the State Liberal Government's capitulation to the upstream states-and restore the health of the Murray for future generations.

And only Labor will take real action action to tackle climate change and shepherd our economy through the transition to a renewable energy future.

Our policies will deliver cleaner, cheaper energy and jobs in the new industries that arise.

This is a future which matters to all of us, young and old, because it is the future of the communities we share.

UNITED AUSTRALIA PARTY - MICHAEL CANE

Michael Cane did not respond to The Times' requests by the time of publication.