Extensive community consultation was a central feature in the development of the plan. There was also an independent Parliamentary inquiry – the Windsor Inquiry into the impacts of the Plan on regional Australia.
This flow chart is a chronological progress of the Plan starting from November 2011 and the processes that contributed to the previous versions of the Plan. A text version is available here.
The Authority prepared a draft plan which formed the basis of a public consultation process. A 20 week period was provided for to enable people to receive briefings on the draft Plan, to attend round tables and public meetings and to prepared submissions in response to the Plan. The Authority continuously took on board the comments and feedback it received during consultation and changes were made as a result. One of the key changes was hardwiring localism into the Plan to provide a significant and ongoing role for local communities across the Basin.
Nearly 12,000 submissions were received. The Authority considered these submissions and made more than 300 changes to the draft Plan. A summary of the submissions, how the MDBA addressed those submissions and the resulting changes to the proposed Basin Plan were published on our website in the Proposed Basin Plan consultation report – May 2012 [ PDF 2.07MB ]
This Plan was prepared as a result of the public consultation and submissions process. According to the process outlined in the Water Act, the Authority is then required to seek comments from members of the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council. Ministers have six weeks to respond to the Authority on the draft Plan.
In a letter from the Chair of the Authority to the Ministerial Council accompanying the Plan it states "I am sure you will agree that the documents represent a large body of work. They contain changes arising out of the consultation process which, we believe, further improves the proposed Basin Plan released last November.
I wish to record the Authority's appreciation for the input of the many individuals and agencies who made submissions about the Plan. I would also like to thank the contribution made by state officials over the past 12 months via the Basin Plan Working Group in refining aspects of the Plan.
In coming to its view about the content of the proposed Basin Plan, the Authority has weighed up the many and varied submissions it received, including those from state governments, with the requirements of the Act.
Associated documents are:
The members of the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council provided a collective response as well as individual State and territory views. The key matters they reached agreement on and requested changes were to:
Under the Water Act, the Authority has the discretion as to whether it is necessary or appropriate to consult on the Basin Ministers' comments. On receipt of the Ministers' comments, the Authority considered the matters raised and determined further consultation would be beneficial.
To assist the MDBA to form its views on the comments, the Authority sought advice from the Basin Community Committee, national peak bodies, key scientists and technical experts, indigenous representatives and local government representatives from areas most likely to be affected by the Ministers' propositions.
The Authority prepared a report on these consultations and its views in response to the Ministers' comments. It also prepared an altered Proposed Basin Plan for presentation back to the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council.
Further associated documents:
Under the legislation the Commonwealth Minister for Water, Minister Burke forwarded the consensus views provided to him by the Murray–Darling Ministerial Council and provided suggestions on the Basin Plan to the Authority.