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Published: 04 September 2020   •   Media statements

I welcome the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt's announcement that the government will focus more directly on Basin communities as we move towards the final stages of the implementation of the Basin Plan.

The new measures the Minister has introduced represent a boost in support for communities and address some of the issues the Murray–Darling Basin Authority has been hearing about from stakeholders in recent times.

We welcome investment in the three key areas—supporting communities, building trust and transparency, and improving the implementation of the Basin Plan.

The additional funds to monitor conditions in the Basin will help to build the collective understanding of the economic, social and environmental health of the nation's most important river system. The Minister has announced the MDBA will be leading this work and we look forward to collaborating with the science community and state governments to ensure it is based on the best information available.

We recognise the need to update the 20-year-old hydrology models used by the MDBA, state governments and science community to understand the Basin's rivers and water ways. The proposed investment by the government is a necessary first step. It's important that our scientists and other water managers and researchers have the most up-to-date systems available to do their job.

The government also announced that it will transfer the Authority's compliance functions to the Inspector General of Water Compliance. We will work with the government on this transition.

We welcome the release of the Sefton panel report which provides an independent assessment of the social and economic conditions in the Basin. We are reviewing the important contribution from the panel, and in addition to the government's response, we are looking to make some improvements to how we undertake our role. The Sefton report and the technical reports will also be drawn upon in our upcoming 2020 Basin Plan evaluation.

ENDS

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