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Published: 08 May 2018   •   Media statements

Meeting in Canberra today, the Authority welcomes the range of government commitments that have reaffirmed bipartisan support for the Basin Plan and secured the passage of two sets of important amendments to the Basin Plan in the Senate.

The Basin Plan's success has always depended on strong cooperation and consensus across governments and across political divides—and the Authority is pleased that Minister Littleproud has achieved a renewed commitment to this spirit of cooperation together with Mr Burke.

The commitments announced yesterday align closely with the priorities of the Authority—stronger compliance and better protections for environmental water; positive outcomes for Indigenous communities and Basin communities more broadly; and effective implementation of the projects tied to the Basin Plan SDL amendment.

These commitments will strengthen and build upon the Authority's ongoing work to achieve these important goals.

The importance of protections for environmental water in the northern Basin was a key consideration in our decision-making following the Northern Basin Review.  This is why we made the northern Basin Amendments contingent on a 'Toolkit' of measures, including measures to better protect water for the environment.

We are pleased that governments have strongly reaffirmed their commitment to fully and transparently implement these measures, and that this work will have the additional assurance of a Northern Basin Commissioner to oversee progress.

We also welcome government agreement on a clear path forward for the recovery, as required under the Plan, of an additional 450 GL of water for the environment through efficiency measures with positive or neutral socio-economic outcomes.

The Authority thanks the hundreds of community members as well as environmental, Aboriginal, industry and community stakeholders who contributed to the development of these two sets of Amendments.

The Basin Plan is our best pathway for securing the future of our most iconic river system and the communities and industries that depend upon it.

It is an achievement Australia should be proud of. Other countries look to our nation as having some of the best and most successful water management policies in the world.

Successive governments, both state and Commonwealth, have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to the Plan. This kind of ongoing consensus is almost unheard of, and it is a testament to the enduring importance and value of the reform the Basin Plan represents.

Implementing the Plan is not easy and not without challenges—but it is working, and its benefits will continue to grow year after year.

The Hon Neil Andrew AO
Phillip Glyde
Professor Barry Hart AM
Dianne Davidson AM
Susan Madden
George Warne

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)

ENDS

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