Victoria Wins Water Battle

Victoria Wins Water Battle

Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh

MDBA Backs Down On Decision To Devalue Water

Victor P Taffa

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has backed down on its decision to write down the value of the water Victoria has already contributed to the Basin plan.

Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh said decision was made after pressure from state ministers at a meeting of Murray Darling Basin Ministers in Canberra today.

“The Authority’s appalling decision to devalue Victoria’s contribution with the stroke of a pen has only served to create more uncertainty for communities.” Mr. Walsh said.

“The changes would have reduced the water already committed by Victoria by 12.5 gigalitres (GI) which would have meant further cuts to meet the shifting goal posts.”

“I am pleased that on this at least the Authority has listened to our concerns and seen commonsense.”

“Victoria has already done the heavy lifting throughout this process because of the security of our entitlements.” Mr. Walsh said.

“About 438 GI has already been stripped from Victoria’s irrigators, mainly as a result of the Commonwealth’s aggressive water buyback.”

“A total of 663 Gl has been committed from Victoria when taking into account the contribution from irrigation upgrades.”

“The decision also had the potential to undermine the value of irrigator entitlements.” Mr. Walsh said.

Mr. Walsh said he still held enormous reservations about the Draft Plan and the proposed legal instrument which failed to demonstrate the Authority had:

  • Based the proposed 2,800 Gl reduction on sound science and a robust process;
  • Given sufficient consideration to the social and economic outcomes alongside environmental outcomes;
  • Provided certainty that further legislative changes would not occur after the finalisation of the Plan.

“Victorian communities need certainty and I don’t believe the Draft will provide that.” Mr. Walsh said.