LABOR has slashed or delayed $6.7 billion in dam funding promised by the previous government, but insists it has a plan for the nation's water security.
The government revealed it would not support the $5.4b Hell's Gate and $483m Urannah dams in Queensland, while deferring another $900 million to be reconsidered once the project business cases are completed.
Dungowan Dam ($433m), Emu Swamp Dam ($126.5m), Hughenden Irrigation Scheme and the Wyangala Dam wall extension were all among the projects to have their funding paused.
The budget did confirm $1.1b for water infrastructure, including the $600m Paradise Dam and $8m Big Rocks Weir in Queensland, $300m for Darwin's water security, the Cairns Water Security Project ($107.5m), the Tasmanian Pipeline ($100m), and $32m to consult and plan central Queensland water options ($32m).
Despite the cuts, federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said the government had a "strong, secure and national water plan", and was putting $2.6m towards establishing a National Water Commission to direct the nation's water infrastructure.
Significant funding was put towards the Murray-Darling Basin Plan - which Labor promised to deliver on time and in full - including an unspecified amount of money to recover the 450 gigalitres of environmental required under the plan.
The funding was not published due to "commercial sensitivities", but it's understood the money could be used for either infrastructure projects or voluntary water buybacks.
A further $29m will go towards metering, monitoring and increased compliance within the basin and $22.9m will be used to update the science behind the basin's water management.
"[Our national water plan is] for towns and communities, for industry, and for the environment, - all three go hand in hand," Ms Plibersek said.
"After nearly a decade of broken promises and dodgy behaviour under the Liberals and Nationals, we will restore trust and integrity to water policy."