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Published: 10 May 2018   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has welcomed Parliament’s support for changes to the Murray–Darling Basin Plan that will improve how water for the environment is used, and keep more water in communities.

MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said the vote by the Senate allowing an amendment to the Basin Plan to stand was an important step in implementing the Basin Plan in full and on time.

"This is good news for Basin communities and the environment," Mr Glyde said.

"These changes will help protect communities in the southern Basin from unnecessary further socio-economic impacts of water recovery, while also securing important improvements to allow water for the environment to be used more efficiently and effectively.

"In the southern Basin, work will now be able to progress on design, consultation and implementation of important projects to help us get water for the environment to the right place, at the right time, and in the right amount.

"We also welcome bipartisan agreement on a way forward for changes to the Basin Plan that will reduce water recovery in northern Basin communities, and cement commitments to measures to protect environmental flows in the northern reaches of the river system.

"Together, these improvements will reduce the amount of water recovery needed to achieve the environmental benefits mandated in the Basin Plan—meaning that across the Basin, 675 GL more water will remain in communities.

"The amendment also secures further investment in irrigation efficiency improvements for communities, which will deliver 450 GL in water to the environment with positive of neutral socio-economic impacts for communities.

"These amendments bring us closer to in-full, on-time implementation of the Basin Plan, and improve our ability to deliver the environmental, social and economic outcomes required by the Plan.

"We are only part way into its implementation, but we know the Basin Plan is working.  It is generating positive environmental outcomes and driving improvements in irrigation efficiency and productivity.

"These benefits will continue to grow and compound over the coming years and decades.

"The Basin Plan is visionary, long-term policy, and I am confident it will create a legacy Australia can be proud of—a healthy river system, with a secure future, supporting vibrant communities."

ENDS

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