This World Environment Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the
Murray-Darling Basin Plan and consider how we finalise the Plan to get real outcomes for our
NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “Over the last few years, the Commonwealth Environmental
Water Holder has been able to deliver fish and bird breeding events throughout the whole
Basin. This is a fantastic outcome which is incredible to see.
“As we take stock of these results, and the climate and weather conditions which supported
them, it’s important to consider what outcomes the Plan is trying to achieve, when it is trying
to achieve them and how it can achieve them.
“To date, the focus has been on water recovery and just adding water to get environmental
outcomes. In drier years, this will increasingly become more difficult to achieve because
there won’t be enough water to just keep pouring it down the system and hoping for a result.
“As farm practices have changed to adapt to climate change and conditions, so too must
our environmental watering practices. Governments need to invest in infrastructure and
complementary measures to deliver outcomes. These practices involve specifically defining
and targeting outcomes, and taking direct action to make them happen. As opposed to just
adding water and hoping to achieve those same goals.
“Of course, some environmental outcomes rely on flows, but those are being achieved by
the water which has already been recovered. Further work on constraints will also increase
effectiveness and efficiencies.
“Basin farmers want to see healthy rivers, wetlands and wildlife throughout the Basin,
because they live there. They understand the needs and the ebbs and flows of the river
system better than any bureaucrat or passionate but ill-informed city-sider. They live and
breathe it every day. They understand that targeted investment will lead to targeted
outcomes – that’s what they see on their farms and that’s what they want to see delivered
for their local communities.
“Minister Plibersek has recently called for ideas on how to finalise the Basin Plan and she
need look no further than infrastructure investment and complementary measures. Further
water recovery puts somewhere around 25% of the water available for food production at
risk in the Southern Basin, while failing to deliver real environmental results.
“The Minister has a perfect opportunity to protect our food and fibre production, local jobs
and businesses, and our economy, while protecting our environment if the Plan focuses on
delivering real outcomes, not just chasing volumes to tick off the Plan.
“This World Environment Day is the chance to reset this engrained mindset to focus on what
really matters – the outcomes – and with the right decisions and political courage we can
actually achieve the triple bottom line outcomes of the Plan.
“Our communities, our businesses, our food security and our environment all rely on it.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890