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Published: 01 July 2019   •   Media release

The mid-year report card for the Murray–Darling Basin Plan shows sustained effort by basin governments is needed to get the Plan fully on track in this crucial year of implementation.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said that while some work had progressed over the past six months, concerted action in the second half of 2019 was needed to improve the outlook for six key elements of the Basin Plan.

"The MDBA's role is to independently assess and monitor how the Basin Plan is being implemented. It's important we get a clear picture of where Basin governments are meeting their legal requirements, where they need to apply additional effort and where commitments are at risk," Mr Glyde said.

"The report card is a response to calls from the community for public reporting that's more easily understood – and the MDBA will continue to assess and report as we see it.

"We have found the current level of progress varies. Good progress is being made in three areas: water recovery, managing compliance with the rules of water use and the delivery of water for the environment are maintaining a good pace.

"On the other hand, the adjustment to the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) is at risk, finalisation of some water resource plans has been extended because of delays and more work is required to implement initiatives in the Northern Basin.

"The unprecedented drought has curbed the delivery of water for the environment this year, which means government commitments to fully implement initiatives that protect low flows and environmental water are more important than ever."

"These elements are crucial to the Basin Plan's success and are all interconnected. They need to move ahead together in order to set the groundwork for a healthy and sustainable Basin.

"We welcome the fact that Commonwealth and state commitment is as strong as ever. This is one of Australia's biggest reforms and it requires hard work by everyone to deliver the long-term benefits to communities from the top of the system to the bottom.

"The MDBA will continue to monitor progress closely and report regularly, particularly in those areas of risk highlighted in this report card. The Basin Plan's long-term success depends on continued momentum and commitment from all parties.

"The Basin Plan 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 is a testament to the strength and importance of the Basin Plan that this bipartisanship has endured.

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

The July 2019 Report Card prepared by the MDBA is available at mdba.gov.au/basin-plan/basin-plan-annual-report-card.

ENDS

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