The National Irrigators’ Council acknowledges the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan Report
Card for 2022 and is pleased to note the progress being made on implementing the Basin Plan.
NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “The Basin Plan Report Card for 2022 is full of good news, but you
wouldn’t know it if you only looked at the risk graphs bathed in red. It’s astounding that great
progress is overshadowed by the hunt for perfection – as if predicting the weather, managing
thousands of kilometres of rivers, dams and creeks, and implementing the most complex water
policy in the world could ever be flawlessly accomplished.
“If you look at SDLAM supply and constraints projects, 30 of 36 projects are likely to operable or very
close to it by the deadline, while only six remain at risk. But what does the graph say? It says it’s red
and at high risk. That’s over 83% completion, which is a phenomenal effort considering the scale of
these projects. There is still work to be done. The six other projects, or potentially a couple of new
projects, should be given the time they need to be completed. Overall though, it’s still significant
“The same can be said for NSW water resource plans where the graph says its red and at high risk,
because they are all overdue. What you have to dig deeper for is the progress since the last report.
Four plans have been approved, nine plans were submitted for formal approval by the end of the
year and I’m told the remaining seven have now been submitted. This is great progress and I look
forward to the plans being in place in coming months.
“All eyes will be drawn to the efficiency measures projects to see only 26 gigalitres recovered. It’s
again in the red, but when you consider it’s a significant proportion of 62 gigalitres needed to be
recovered to meet the benchmark, there is still time to reach the target – maybe orange or yellow
would have been more appropriate.
“There’s also time to finish the Northern Basin initiatives, noting some may slip a little, but at least the
graph shows a more realistic yellow/orange to note the risk and acknowledge that the vast majority
of the projects will be completed on time.
“What we should be doing as a country is celebrating the fact that over 2,100 gigalitres has been
returned to the environment and is delivering results. 98% of surface water and 92% of groundwater
targets have been met with only 49 gigalitres left to recover under Bridging the Gap. Environmental
water delivery was down, thanks to the floods, yet somehow both risk indicators for Bridging the
Gap and e-water are labelled as good progress, but not on track.
“I think it’s time for the MDBA to reassess its rating scales and come up with something a bit more
positive about the progress of the Basin Plan. It’s working and it’s delivering results. There’s still work
to be done, but it’s not all in the red as the graphs would have you believe. If you only strive for
perfection in a system with so many variables, you’ll never see the wins or appreciate the scale of
what has been achieved.”
Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890 email@example.com