National Farmers' Federation

Down-water project approval puts 650GL offset in sight

Ministers indicated that the package would achieve more than 600 gigalitres of down-water under the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism.
“Hopefully, the adaptive approach adopted will mean these projects could potentially derive the full 650GL of downwater offset that we have long been asking for,” Mr Gordon said.
Mr Gordon said the most pleasing aspect of today’s decisions was the Ministers’ high level of confidence that the projects, together with water already contracted, would complete Southern Basin water recovery.
“Ministers’ commitment to detailed consultation in the design and implementation of these projects is also very welcome.
“We know many of the projects are not straightforward and will require detailed and meaningful consultation with irrigators, riparian landholders and communities.
“Governments need to build stakeholder confidence in these projects, and ensure those that will be affected by their implementation will have their needs met,” Mr Gordon said.
Ministers also reaffirmed that amendments to recovery targets in the Northern Basin should have no impact in the Southern Basin.
This reflects the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) advice that these changes will have no material impact on flows to South Australia.
Ministers also made an in-principle commitment to the toolkit measures recommended by the MDBA.
“This commitment paves the way for the formal amendments to the Basin Plan to be provided to Minister Joyce, and ultimately tabled in the Parliament,” Mr Gordon said.
“The NFF has long said the MDBA’s proposed recommendation on an adjusted recovery target does not go far enough in the north.
“That being so, we will await the tabling of the statutory documents before casting our final judgement,” Mr Gordon said.
Today Ministers also released the detailed Implementing the Basin Plan Report – which was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments last week.
“Hopefully the release of this report can put to bed speculation that Basin Ministers are derailing the implementation of the plan, but rather implementing it in the adaptive way that is was originally designed,” Mr Gordon said

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