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Chief Executive update – May 2023

Andrew McConville

Chief Executive, MDBA

Andrew commenced as Chief Executive of the MDBA in June 2022. With 3 decades of experience in natural resource management, he has held previous leadership roles, both domestic and international, across a range of sectors including agriculture and natural resources. 

Published: 18 May 2023

Hi everyone. I'll start with a quick Federal Budget update, and what the outcome means our work in delivering the Basin Plan.

For the Water portfolio, the Budget included $197.1 million over 4 years for water security projects, and $32.7 million to boost water market transparency – including a new National Water Market Hub. 

It would be remiss of me not to address Minister Plibersek’s announcement of a significant allocation for the MDBA of $103.7 million dollars over 4 years to enable us to deliver the legislated Basin Plan Review in 2026. 

This important funding means that we can spend the next couple of years collecting the latest science and knowledge about the Basin and engaging with Basin communities, industries, Basin governments and First Nations to prepare for the Review process. 

The Review will look ahead, to make sure the plan is on the right track heading into the future.  

We've learned much since the original Basin Plan came into effect 10 years ago, and as Review preparations get underway, we want to work with everyone to use the best available knowledge and analysis to determine the settings needed to manage the Basin for the next decade. 

I’m always delighted when I get the opportunity to hit the road and meet some of the great people of the Basin. It’s also a chance for me to see first-hand environmental conditions across the Basin, especially after the flooding of the last few months. 

This month Authority Chair Sir Angus Houston and I had the opportunity to visit the towns of Moree, Walgett, Collarenebri, Brewarrina and Bourke as part of a Barwon-Darling Listening Tour. I really appreciate the welcome and the frank conversations we have on these trips with the local government representatives, First Nations people, irrigators and others.  

It was nice to be back in a part of the world where I grew up.  

Recently I also visited Mildura and Menindee, where we met community members about flooding and fish deaths and other matters important to the region. It was then a trip down the Great Darling Anabranch – which looks to be in great condition with strong flows, full lakes and plenty of bird life. 

The Basin Community Committee continues to be a valuable source of information and inspiration for us, and so I was pleased to address the Committee recently, along with a couple of my MDBA colleagues. 

The Committee gives us a first-hand picture of what’s happening around the Basin, especially from a community perspective – and it’s just as important that we keep the committee up-to-date about the MDBA’s activities. 

Thanks for tuning in. Coming soon is our flagship River Reflections conference, which we will wrap up in the June edition of River Reach.

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