The National Irrigators’ Council has released its submission to the finalising the Basin Plan ideas
consultation process and it comes as the Federal Water Minister has today asked the Basin
Authority to report on whether the Plan can be achieved by its mid-2024 deadline.
NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “Minister Plibersek called for ideas on how to finalise the Basin
Plan, honouring her commitment to consider ‘all options on the table’. The Plan was drafted
over a decade ago and a lot has been achieved and changed since then. This ideas
process is an opportunity for the Minister to consider how we can collectively work to finalise
the Basin Plan by focusing on delivering real, tangible outcomes.
“One of the recommendations put forward by NIC was for the timelines to be extended to
allow the States time to complete their Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism
(SDLAM) projects. Reports today that the Minister has asked the MDBA about timelines,
signals the Minister’s pragmatic approach to finalising the Plan and hopefully will lead to
agreement around the Ministerial Council table to extend the timelines.
“Farmers have already given up over 2100 gigalitres of water. They’ve done the heavy lifting
and it’s time for Basin Governments to deliver on their commitments, so their failures aren’t
sheeted home to farmers and communities. If that takes a little more time, then so be it. It’s
better to have a good plan which works, then a bad plan which destroys jobs, businesses,
communities, food availability and the cost of living.
“NIC urges Basin Ministers to consider the ideas which have been presented and embrace
the collaboration of stakeholders to finalise the Plan. The alternative is buybacks which will
hurt all Australians at the checkout and won’t deliver real outcomes by just adding water
and hoping for results.
“In our submission, NIC presents a number of innovative ideas, including options or derivatives
trading, co-locating renewable energy and water infrastructure, building and extending
partnerships between irrigators and environmental water holders, and investing in
complementary measures. These ideas add flexibility, achieve multiple goals at once and
deliver triple bottom line outcomes for the productive sector, communities and the
environment – which is the most important principle of the Basin Plan.
“NIC has long said there are better ways to deliver the Plan, which gets results without
harming industry and communities. We welcome the Government considering these ideas
and extending the timelines to ensure the Plan is fair and works for all stakeholders.
“The Plan shouldn’t be about pitting food growers against the environment or communities
against communities or state against state. It should be about working together to achieve
shared goals and outcomes, and NIC stands ready to engage in this collaboration to see
healthy rivers, healthy wildlife, healthy communities and thriving local economies.”
You can find our submission at
Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890