The National Irrigators Council (NIC) welcomes the long-awaited appointment of a new member to the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

NIC CEO, Isaac Jeffrey said: “The appointment of Ms Roseanne Healy to the Authority is an important step to enable the Authority to be equipped with the skills and knowledge required over the coming years to continue its important work.

“Ms Healy brings twenty years of experience in the corporate sector with sound capacity in corporate governance, market analysis and natural resource management issues.

“The Authority has a major task ahead in overseeing the remaining critical elements of the Basin Plan with a raft of issues yet to be resolved. This includes overcoming the existing gap in the Basin Plan target of 605 gigalitres (GL) under the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) and understanding what the change to the Menindee and Yanco SDLAM projects will mean for this target with the move by the NSW Government to the ‘Better Bidgee – Better Baaka’ projects.

“These ‘rescoped projects’ will include a mix of infrastructure investments to improve fish passage, better supply for town water and increased reliable waterways flows. What we do not yet know is the estimated offsets calculated within the projects towards the 605 GL target.

“With the 2024 due date for Basin Plan reconciliation approaching, this is important when some SDLAM projects are deemed to be at ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk’ of not being delivered by the deadline as the 605 GL target must be met in order to keep 605 GL in consumptive use.

“Other issues yet to be resolved include managing constraints under the Basin Plan and working through issues relating to water for First Nations people so that all stakeholders in water policy for economic, environmental and cultural purposes, are afforded due process and transparency.

“NIC also looks forward to the announcement of an incoming MDBA Chief Executive in 2022 replacing the recently retired Phillip Glyde.

“The irrigated agriculture sector will continue to work with the Authority, the Commonwealth, State jurisdictions and Basin Plan agencies to ensure the voices of the people and the communities producing irrigated food and fibre are heard and to ensure the social, economic and environmental outcomes in Basin communities are not compromised.

Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890