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Published: 13 December 2018   •   Media release

The MDBA has today released a report card highlighting six areas of high importance for successful implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said 2019 would be a critical year for the Basin Plan, and a number of key milestones would need ongoing commitment from partner governments to ensure successful implementation.

"2018 has seen a number of significant achievements—from major improvements in compliance, to the passing of important amendments to the Plan which will improve outcomes for the environment, and for Basin communities and industries,” Mr Glyde said.

"Looking ahead to 2019, it will be essential for us all to maintain focus and momentum as we approach some of the most crucial milestones for Basin Plan implementation.

"The MDBA has looked at progress against six key elements of the Basin Plan, and found that while some are on track, others involve significant challenges.

"In particular, while there have been significant recent efforts from state governments and additional resourcing by the MDBA, many Water Resource Plans are at risk of delay.  The majority of gap-bridging water recovery required under the Plan has been achieved, but the MDBA also considers there is a high risk that the initial June 2019 efficiency measures water recovery target will not be met.

"However, it is positive to see that gap-bridging water recovery is firmly on track, and there has been significant progress on work to strengthen compliance, and in the effective planning and delivery of water for the environment.

"The Basin Plan is one of the most complex and ambitious water reforms in the world.  It arose from an urgent need to secure the future of our nation’s most important river system, and was forged in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship.  It has been tested over the years, but it is a testament to the strength and importance of the Basin Plan that this bipartisanship has endured.

"Much good progress has been made, but the work is not over yet.  We need to keep momentum and deliver the Plan in full, including through the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism and Northern Basin initiatives.  While these measures are in their infancy, progress on some of them has been slower than hoped, and the MDBA will continue to monitor them closely and report regularly.

"The Basin Plan’s success depends on continued dedication and cooperation from all parties to the Plan.

"It is only by working together to implement the Basin Plan as intended that we can realise its full benefits—a healthy, working, sustainable river system now and for future generations.

"The MDBA is confident that Basin governments will continue to work together constructively and transparently, and place a high priority on implementing the Basin Plan in full—particularly those areas of risk highlighted in this report card.”

The MDBA is an independent, expert authority, and will continue to work with Basin state governments to ensure that the Basin Plan is implemented in full, to secure the future health of the Murray–Darling river system and the communities that depend on it.

The Basin Plan 2018 Report Card prepared by the MDBA is available at mdba.gov.au/basin-plan/basin-plan-annual-report-card.

ENDS

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