Water Murray Darling Basin Plan 450GL upwater

Irrigators deserve detail of Basin agreement

17 December 2018

Basin Ministers met today to decide on the important neutrality test that will determine the conditions under which water may be recovered towards an additional 450GL, under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Under the MDBP, an additional 450GL of water can only be recovered if projects have neutral, or positive, socio-economic impacts on Basin communities.

Agreement was reached, but the details have not been released, leaving irrigators and communities in the dark on the measures that will decide their futures. 

As Ministers met in Melbourne, hundreds of farmers and irrigators from northern Victoria and southern New South Wales rallied outside calling for a fairer deal under the Basin Plan.

Their message was clear – our communities cannot afford to lose more water, more jobs or more families.

Water Minister Lisa Neville ignored irrigators’ calls this week to release the independent report, drafted by Sefton and Associates, which Basin Ministers based today’s decision on.

The neutrality test will have critical impacts on our irrigators’ livelihood and the future of our Basin communities.

We deserve full transparency.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan

Irrigators and Basin communities deserve more than vague assurances.

This morning irrigators from across northern Victoria and southern New South Wales gathered together to call for a fairer deal under the Basin Plan.

But, after standing all morning in the welcome rain, these farmers are none the wiser as to what the ‘neutrality test’ involves and whether their views have been fairly represented.

We deserve the detail of this agreement, so irrigators can have confidence they’ve been heard and listened to and that any water recovery will not cost jobs, reduce production or increase water bills in irrigation districts.

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