Water Murray Darling Basin Plan Murray Darling Basin Authority

Ryan calls for MDBA split

19 November 2019

Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan has called on the Federal Government to act on the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to split the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

The Productivity Commission delivered a scathing report of the MDBA in January, describing it as “an inherently conflicted entity and is perceived as such by stakeholders”.

The Commission found the MDBA “marks its own homework” and recommended separating its responsibilities.

Ms Ryan raised the issue with Federal Water Minister David Littleproud on a recent trip to Canberra with Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Walsh.

“The MDBA is a massive bureaucratic machine within the Canberra bubble and it is time for it to be split up and start looking outwards, not inwards,” Ms Ryan said.

“Separating the MDBA’s responsibilities for river operations, implementation of the Basin Plan and its regulatory role is common sense and it will help address real concerns that the authority is a law unto itself.”

Ms Ryan said it was time the Federal Government acted on the recommendations from the report.

“It’s now been 10 months since this report was handed to Basin Ministers,” Ms Ryan said.

“The appointment of an Inspector-General is welcome, but I believe stronger action is required to address the inherent conflicts in the MDBA’s role.

“Basin communities and stakeholders have lost faith in the MDBA’s ability to manage its conflicting responsibilities to the benefit of all river users. The only way to restore faith is through genuine change.”

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