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Published: 03 August 2011   •   Media release

From the Hon. Craig Knowles

During the past fortnight, I have met and spoken with senior ministers and officials in the Basin Governments as part of the necessary briefings and discussions as we move towards consulting on a draft basin plan.

Following these discussions, and submissions from some states, the Authority has formed a view that there are broader issues that need to be resolved before the draft plan is released.

I want to ensure that these broader issues have time to be worked through and governments have access to the information they need.

Further work by all parties in developing the draft basin plan includes:

  • shaping how the plan will be implemented in the period 2012-19 and the mid-point review process
  • identifying what needs to be done to address constraints that limit our ability to move water around the Basin effectively.

This will allow time for negotiations to be finalised between the Commonwealth and states concerning infrastructure funding.

It's also important that any points from our latest science review, and state science reviews, be incorporated into the draft plan before it is made publicly available.

I am particularly keen to explore with governments how we can address the Windsor Inquiry recommendation to review "all regulations and agreements in place that inhibit the efficient management of water in the Murray–Darling Basin" (recommendation 1, page xvii).

I would like to thank each of the state and territory ministers for their constructive efforts and their commitment to working together to produce a draft plan that will underpin a healthy working basin.

We will continue to work with the states and territories to get the work done as quickly as possible. We're aiming to finish the work by mid-October and will put out the draft as soon as we can after that. So that this doesn't affect the holiday season, we are allowing a further four weeks for consultation, providing a minimum of 20 weeks for public comment on the plan.

I will also be using this time to keep talking to people in the basin to share ideas and suggestions for the plan and its implementation.

This is too important to rush – it's not about ticking a box – it's about getting it right.

For more information contact the MDBA Media office at media@mdba.gov.au

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