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Murray-Darling Basin Plan

The final Murray-Darling Basin Plan was signed into law by the Federal Water Minister, Tony Burke on 22 November 2012 and tabled in the Parliament on 26 November 2012. 

On 27 February 2014, the New South Wales and Queensland Governments were the last to sign the Intergovernmental Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin and an amended National Partnership Agreement.  The New South Wales Government had been holding off signing the IGA until it was satisfied a number of conditions relating to the implementation of the Basin Plan were going to be met. These included a cap on the volume of water recovered through buyback, giving priority to infrastructure and environmental works and measures to meet the remaining recovery volumes and increasing the sustainable diversion limits on two brackish groundwater aquifers. The basin agreement includes an additional $80 million funding over the next eight years which will go towards developing further infrastructure and water management projects, water resource plans and other activities.

The focus now shifts to the implementation phase of the Basin Plan and ensuring water is recovered for the environment through methods that cause the least harm to our business and the community. The Basin Plan will be implemented over the next six years to allow time for basin states, communities and the Government to work together to manage the changes required for a healthy working basin.

Link MI-arrow-yellow.gif The Basin Plan (MDBA website)

Recent news

(May 2014) The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 is to be reviewed to ensure it is meeting its objectives. On 12 May 2014, Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, announced the full terms of reference and members of the independent panel for the review which includes Chair of the National Irrigators' Council (NIC), Gavin McMahon. The panel members will oversee this process and report back to the government by the end of the year.

The review is a requirement of the Water Act and the terms of reference include assessing progress towards meeting the objectives of the Basin Plan.

(June 2014) The Department of Environment has released the Water Recovery Strategy for the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The Strategy outlines the Government's approach to recovering water for the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin including a priority of water recovery through infrastructure investment over water buybacks. It also refers to the 1500 GL cap on buybacks. Media coverage on the release of the document referred to Simon Birmingham stating that there is potential to reduce the volume of water buybacks to a lower figure of 1300GL. Senator Birmingham's office has clarified that this 1300GL buyback figure is not a lower cap figure, but an "aspirational" target in line with the Government's commitment to recovering most of the remaining "gap" in the the required water through water saving infrastructure and on-farm efficiency programs. 

Download MI-arrow-yellow.gif Water Recovery Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin (PDF 3.62MB)

Independent Economics Report

We were one of the funding partners who commissioned Independent Economics to examine the assumptions and model impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan for the South West Murrumbidgee. This report was released on 16 April 2012. 

The Independent study found that a 29 per cent reduction in productive water use in the South West Murrumbidgee (Griffith, Leeton, Narrandera, Carrathool and Murrumbidgee local government areas)  is likely to permanently reduce employment by 2,100 jobs, comprising 700 jobs from farming and processing businesses and 1,400 jobs from urban based service industries. The study also estimates GDP in this region will reduce by about 9 per cent and income by about $200 million. 

In addition, the study found that recovering this water through infrastructure investments rather than buyback  will eliminate the costs of water purchases for regional communities, although the national costs will likely increase.

This report was also provided to the MDBA as a submission.

Read the full report MI-arrow-yellow.gif Modelling the Economic Impact of the Draft Basin Plan.

What you can do

You can continue to raise issues of concern by writing to key politicians listed below.

 

Member for Riverina
The Hon. Michael McCormack MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Email: michael.mccormack@nationals.org.au

 

Prime Minister
The Hon. Tony Abbott MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra  ACT  2600
Email: tony.abbot.mp@aph.gov.au  

 

Leader of the Opposition 
The Hon. Bill Shorten MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra  ACT  2600

 

Minister for Environment 
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House Canberra  ACT  2600
Email: Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au    

 

Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage and Water
The Hon Mark Butler MP
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House 
Canberra ACT 2600
Email: Mark.Butler.MP@aph.gov.au

 

Download MI-arrow-yellow.gif Political Contact List (PDF)

Communications Archive

Basin Plan meeting Griffith

Over 10,000 people from all over the MIA attended the MDBA consultation meeting in Griffith on 15 December 2011.

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