what have you heard about the development of BP
Over the past twenty years there has been significant progress in water reform however, the fundamental issue of too much water being removed from the Basin's Rivers remained. The need to determine a sustainable limit of water extraction was resolved through the preparation and passage of the Basin Plan in November 2012.
In parallel with the first River Murray Agreement in the early 1900s, it took the Millennium Drought in the 2000s to expose the limits and weaknesses of how water in the Basin was managed and the need for continuing reform.
The response in 2007 was the passing of the Water Act in the Australian Parliament with bipartisan support.
The then Prime Minister John Howard declared "For this plan to work, there must be clear recognition by all – especially by State and Territory Governments – that the old way of managing the Murray–Darling Basin has reached it's used by date."
The Prime Minister announced a $10 billion plan to improve water efficiency and to address over allocation of water for rural Australia.
Continuing its historic underpinnings, the development of the Basin Plan has been one of the most controversial pieces of public policy in recent history, with competing viewpoints from irrigators and environmentalists at the forefront of debate.
South Australia, at the end of the system, argued strongly for more water (a lower sustainable diversion limit) while NSW and Victoria (with more irrigation-dependent farmers and higher populations) argued for higher levels of water for irrigation.
The Authority underpinned the development of the Basin Plan with scientific research, ecological modelling and socio economic studies.
The Authority developed a draft plan for public exhibition in November 2011. We went on the road from November 2011 through until May 2012 to consult on the proposal. We held multiple meetings with states, local governments, catchment management authorities, community, peak industry groups, Indigenous and environment groups in a range of styles and places–from large community meetings in town halls to round tables and workshops in community centres and offices. We met with thousands of people living along different stretches of the Basin's Rivers. Read more
The vote in the House of Representatives on a motion to disallow the Basin Plan, 29 November 2012 which was defeated 95 to 5 votes.
Picture courtesy Colin Bettles Fairfax Agricultural Media
The Basin Plan has undergone many refinements and iterations over the last few years. This was as a result of improving the science, improving our understanding of the social and economic conditions but most importantly from those who know the Basin the best – those who live in Basin communities. Many of the ideas that make up the Basin Plan were built in collaboration. There is no question the knowledge acquired during its preparation has contributed immeasurably to the process of water reform in the Basin and provides a firm basis on which to build.
The Minister adopted the Basin Plan on 22 November 2012 and on 29 November 2012 it received bipartisan support in Parliament.
To view the Basin Plan November 2012 and associated documents click here.