MDBA releases updated draft plan
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has released changes to its Basin Plan to ministers as part of the Authority’s process of developing the finalised plan.
The MDBA also released a report detailing the changes that have been made to the draft based on submissions received during the consultation period.
"Over the past 12 months we have been consulting communities and representative groups on the development of a Basin Plan," said MDBA Chair Craig Knowles.
"Since the release of the draft in November, we have continued to consider and test ideas and information to revise the draft plan that we are now presenting to Basin governments."
This version of the plan, titled the 'Proposed Basin Plan – A Revised Draft', now enters its ministerial and parliamentary process. It goes to all Basin water ministers for consideration for a maximum of six weeks, as stipulated by the Water Act. Following this, the Basin Plan will be given to the Federal Water Minister.
The MDBA has stood by the planned 2,750 GL/y as a long term average for its environmental flow.
The revised plan has proven expectedly unpopular with the respective Murray-Darling State Governments, with Victorian Water Minister saying the plan is a ‘death warrant’ for the agricultural sector in the state.
“"The socio-economic report outlines the industries that will be severely impacted upon: northern Victoria's dairy farmers, Sunraysia and Riverland horticulturalists, cotton growers in the Lower Ballonee and Murrumbidgee and New South Wales Murray rice growers,” Mr Walsh said.
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps echoed Mr Walsh’s concerns, saying none of Queensland’s concerns were addressed in the revision.
“The Queensland Government raised a number of significant and legitimate concerns in its submission to the original draft and unfortunately none of those appear to have been addressed in this revised Plan,” Mr Cripps said.
South Australian Premier, Jay Weathrill, described the revised plan as ‘unacceptable’, and that it does not provide enough for environmental flows.
“The result is a revised plan which officially sanctions the over-allocation of water that has been going on for more than 40 years, damaging the Murray and threatening to destroy it,” Mr Weatherill said in a statement.
More information can be found here