The National Irrigators’ Council welcomed the release of the consultation outcomes paper of
summarising community led ideas to finalise the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
NIC Chair Jeremy Morton said: “We’ve always suggested there were better ways to finalise
the Plan without the need to buy more water from production.
“Communities have again, stood up and provided the ideas and options to move forward
with the Basin Plan and see it to the end. Just as they did, more than a decade ago when
first asked to find ways to bridge the gap – with that task 98% complete and more than 2100
gigalitres of water recovered for the environments use today. Ensuring over the long -term
approximately 74% of water in the Basin is for the environment.
“With all options now tabled, it’s up to Minister Plibersek and the Basin States to act on these
ideas and provide the flexibility that communities are calling for.
“Communities want win-win solutions, delivering real environmental outcomes without the
socio-economic impacts of direct entitlement buybacks.
“The report included clear no-brainer ideas that provide win-wins that should be adopted.
“For example, suggestions for a basin-wide irrigation pump fish screening and improved fish
passage program, to improve native fish populations and extent that complements
environmental water usage.
“We know these fish friendly programs work but current legislation doesn’t enable these
options throughout the basin, only in the north as part of the Northern Toolkit.
“The report clearly highlighted that some ideas would need policy and legislative changes to
implement, so that they can be recognised as contributing to the Basin Plan outcomes and
recovery targets.
“We have the ideas tabled and tested.
“There’s recognition more time will be needed.
“We now need a willingness from Government’s to want to work with communities to
implement the genuine win-win projects in the extended timeframe, rather than revert to a
multibillion-dollar buybacks program with limited environmental benefits and major socio-economic
risks that will cost Australian’s more in the long-term than just the funds to buy more water.
You can find our submissions on these ideas and other recommendation to finalise the
Murray Darling Basin Plan at