VIC Basin deal must reignite old and new win-win projects for all states

Canberra, ACT – The National Irrigators Council (NIC) is relieved that the stalemate between
the Australian Government and Victoria appears broken with agreement to fund Victoria’s
stalled Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects. This crucial step is
a win-win for Victoria and Basin communities, and has been welcomed by the NIC.

“We welcome Minister Plibersek’s renewed commitment to funding the stalled SDLAM
projects in Victoria, as this will contribute significantly to achieving government responsibilities
towards the Basin Plan in a manner that avoids the industry and community impacts
providing win-wins,” said Zara Lowien, CEO National Irrigators’ Council.

In light of the progress, the NIC urges governments to allocate resources to assess the
feasibility of new SDLAM projects that were identified during consultations to finalise the Basin
Plan, more than 12-months ago now. These projects, aimed at enhancing water security and
supporting the long-term sustainability of the Basin, are win-win solutions aligned with
environmental outcomes that should be prioritised and available for all southern Basin

Mrs Lowien emphasized the importance of continued collaboration between stakeholders to
ensure the successful implementation of existing and new projects. “It is imperative that
governments prioritise the funding of feasibility studies and business cases for the identified
new supply projects.”

“We know there are well advanced, no brainer projects that are well supported by all
involved and yet, we are still waiting for the Federal Government to fund them” she stated.

The NIC calls for action on the Productivity Commission’s recommendations for improved
accountability and transparency in the implementation of the Basin Plan. Regular updates
on progress regarding supply and constraints projects, in addition to the 450GL additional
environmental program, are essential.

“The Restoring our Rivers Bill provided a timeline extension and new tools, and stakeholders
need confidence that Governments are genuinely looking into alternatives to buyback,”
said Mrs Lowien.

The NIC remains committed to advancing all the alternative tools, other than buyback that
are now available under the Murray Darling Basin Plan that benefit both the environment
and local communities.