Productivity Commission warns Basin Governments – don’t waste time, do your job
The Productivity Commission’s Final Report into the 5-year Implementation Review of the
Murray Dalring Basin Plan has highlighted significant concerns about Basin Plan governance,
saying governments must shape up or fail said Zara Lowien, CEO of National Irrigators

“The final report has endorsed our warnings that Basin governments must act promptly and
not waste the extended timeframe granted by the Australian Parliament in late 2023.”

“The report warned that without addressing the barriers to implementation that led to the
need for more time, the Basin Plan is at risk of not achieving its objectives.”

“This puts communities at risk of further buybacks rather than exploring the alternative
measures such as offsets under the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment projects and
efficiency measures.”

“Its SDLAM including constraints, and the efficiency programs which are the responsibility of
governments that have the greatest shortfall risk but there is no accountability or implications
if they fail.”

“It’s just not good enough and the Productivity Commission agrees.”

“The report provided a number of recommendations targeted at improving transparency,
accountability and governance.”

“It also acknowledged that the current funding will not be enough to finalize the plan and
more money or revised expectations would be needed” she said.

Mrs. Lowien stressed the importance of immediate progress on all alternative options, funding
new proposals, and implementing innovative ideas to move forward.

“It is imperative that Basin states and the Australian Government work together to address
the identified shortcomings and act.”

“We need a new approach with new opportunities, not more of the same” she said.

“Whilst we welcome today’s announcement by Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek and
NSW Water Minister Rose Jackson, to fund re-worked projects in the Murray and
Murrumbidgee valleys, we know there are still win-win, no brainer projects sitting collecting
dust on agency desks”.

“We need to find ways to fund any re-worked projects as well as new ideas and proposals,
and quickly”.

“Collaboration and action among all basin jurisdictions will be essential to ensure the
effective implementation of the Basin Plan without relying solely on water buybacks from
farmers” she said.