ACT Basin Plan deal seeks to close the gap but triggers the need for more transparency
Canberra, ACT – The National Irrigators Council (NIC) welcomes the recent announcement
by the Federal Water Minister regarding the finalisation of bridging the gap in the Australian
Capital Territory (ACT), signalling further progress towards Basin Plan implementation. The
deal, reportedly devoid of direct water purchases but including efficiency and demand
management, marks a clear intent from the Albanese Government to explore alternatives,
including community and industry-supported options, to finalize the plan.
Mrs. Lowien stated, “we welcome the development of alternative options with community
and industry backing to finalise the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”
This agreement sets a precedent for other Basin jurisdictions to explore similar avenues with
their respective communities and industries.
The responsibility for completing the final steps of the Basin Plan lies with Basin jurisdictions
and the Federal Government collaborating with water delivery operators and stakeholders
to address the remaining gaps in water recovery. Farmers and communities have made
substantial efforts, with the remaining gap from farmers being less than 15 gigalitres. It is now
imperative for governments have a strategy to make progress on their responsibilities.
The NIC emphasises the need for improved transparency and accountability in the
implementation of the Basin Plan.
“The ACT deal highlights that transparency and accountability under the Basin Plan
implementation must be improved. The announcement lacked key project details, including
exactly what are the projects being implemented, by who and when will the
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder receive the entitlements, which has raised
“This isn’t the first time the ACT Government has received money for water recovery towards
Basin Plan implementation,” said Mrs Lowien.
It’s essential that interested stakeholders receive regular updates on supply and constraints
projects, as well as the renewed framework for the 450GL of additional environmental, along
with a clear government strategy to oversee implementation and prevent delays.
We support the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for enhanced transparency,
strategy, and accountability in Basin Plan implementation. The NIC urges all governments to
prioritise increased transparency to build trust and confidence in water resource
In the absence of government reporting, the NIC will provide updates on water recovery
progress. Additionally, the NIC calls on the Federal Government to engage with communities
and industry to enhance transparency collectively. These efforts aim to ensure transparency
for all stakeholders and monitor progress towards finalizing the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

For more information, please refer to Figure 1 and Table 1or our website




Table 1:Progress on Basin Plan implementation since Restoring Our Rivers Bill agreement in December 2023