THE Murray Darling Basin plan may not be "nirvana'' but it is "vastly better'' for regional communities than if the Greens negotiated the deal.
This is according to Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, speaking to journalists in Canberra this morning.
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The Coalition's support for the plan comes as their own Nationals Federal Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack and Liberal Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone moved a disallowance motion against the plan.
Senator Joyce said he "understood their concerns''.
But, in a telling sign, following his comments on the Coalition's position, journalists present at the media doorstop did not ask any questions about the Murray Darling plan or communities affected by it.
Instead, they focused on questions regarding debate over Prime Minister Julia Gillard's past as a lawyer.
Senator Joyce had said that while "no one is going to find nirvana in this plan but it is vastly better than what we were going to get with what (Greens) Senator Sarah Hanson-Young would have negotiated''.
"We have to go back to the record of what sort of things the Greens were wanting, 7600GL to start off with coming out of the system and then they were going to mediate their position and go to 4000,'' he said.
"That would have been economic destruction.''
Senator Joyce said the Coalition, if it took government at the next election, would "cap buybacks at 1500GL and we will make certain that there is no social or economic detriment to the areas from which the water is retrieved''.
"This is a promise the Coalition makes, a commitment as we come to government.
"It can be implemented almost immediately in the Water Recovery Strategy.''
He said the Coalition had done its "very best to make sure that a plan that is going to go through in one way, shape, form or another is a plan that does the least amount of damage to the regional towns''.
"I unashamedly say that my focus through the negotiation process has been on the economy of regional towns and the economy of regional areas,'' he said.
"Not so much even on the irrigation industry because they were getting compensated but regional townspeople, regional businesses were not.
"There was a real sense of standing by the concept of social justice.
"Social justice incorporates making sure that people are dealt with fairly. The 2.2 million people who live in the Basin are dealt with fairly.''
These comments were followed by questions about the Prime Minister's past and associations, and the questions levelled at her in parliament by deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop.
The Senator said "Julie Bishop was doing her job on behalf of the Australian people, getting questions answered''.
When asked what those questions were, Senator Joyce said: "Well I bought up one yesterday; did you or did you not sight the power of attorney?
"A power of attorney is an extremely important document that gives you the capacity to basically take a house off you or give you a house or load you up with debt,'' he said.
"It was a signed document. Now we don't need an ambivalent answer, we need to know whether you sighted it or not.''