Victoria And New South Wales Supports Communities Concerns About MDBA Plans

Victoria And New South Wales Supports Communities Concerns About MDBA Plans

Victoria Minister for Water Lisa Neville

Finding Balance Within The Murray Darling Basin Plan

Victor P Taffa

Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) will push ahead with key reforms to ensure a balanced approach to implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan supporting local communities and protecting the environment.

At the Ministerial Council meeting in Adelaide, Minister for Water Lisa Neville sought two key measures to better protect Victorians while also delivering on key Basin Plan outcomes.

During the meeting:  

  • Victoria moved an amendment to require the appointment of an independent expert panel to maximise environmental outcomes under the plan and minimise the impact on communities
  • Victoria sought to secure greater state oversight of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) socioeconomic assessment

While these reforms were not supported by all governments, Victoria will work closely with NSW and the MDBA to achieve them.

“We’re pushing ahead with key reforms to support our regional and rural communities and deliver on our Basin Plan obligations.” Minister for Water Lisa Neville said.

“We support the recovery of water through infrastructure investments to reduce leakage and evaporation in our irrigation systems but we don’t support further water buybacks.”

Recent socio-economic work in the northern basin highlighted significant concerns about the impacts on communities that are why Victoria argued for a similar assessment with the appropriate government oversight.

Victoria is now finalising its report on the socio-economic impacts of water recovery to date, and potential impacts going forward.

Victoria and NSW will now use independent experts to provide advice on achieving environmental outcomes through measures other than water recovery. We support investment in water efficient infrastructure, rather than buying water, and works and measures that achieve environmental outcomes with the same amount or less water.

MDBA has confirmed that it will include a socio-economic assessment in its 2017 evaluation. Ministers have been assured that any changes arising from the Northern Basin Review will have no negative impacts on social, environmental and economic outcomes in the southern basin.

For the last two years, the Andrews Government has been putting regional communities first by investing in the projects needed to support local businesses and families.