National Farmers' Federation

Farmers commend agreement from Ministers on Murray Darling

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today commended agreement from the Ministers of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council to a package of measures that will lead to more realistic management of the MDB and deliver positive outcomes for regional communities.
Meeting in Brisbane, the Council, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, agreed to the package of supply, efficiency and constraints measures that provide changes to the sustainable diversion limits (SDL) of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
NFF Water Taskforce Chair, Les Gordon, said the projects would lead to a significant reduction in the amount of water recovery required to achieve Basin Plan outcomes which was good news for both the environment and the communities for which the Murray Darling Basin is the lifeblood.
“Today we have seen the Ministers agree to a first tranche of these measures and arrangement for a second tranche of SDL adjustments and it is now important the states involved work together to achieve the 650gl downwater target,” Mr Gordon said.
“We absolutely recognise that we need to achieve triple bottom line outcomes in implementing the Basin Plan that measure performance against economic, social and environmental parameters and this is a clear step towards that.
“Recognition by the Ministers of the importance of non-flow complementary activities to achieve environmental outcomes including carp control, cold water pollution and fish ladders will also significantly contribute to what can be achieved.”
Mr Gordon said it was also important today’s meeting had included a briefing on the progress of the Northern Basin review which is due to be finalised by mid-July this year.
“Communities in the northern Basin are looking for a clear direction and certainty from this review and are expecting its outcomes to include reduced water recovery,” he said.
“In particular, Government has been urged to look at a full suite of complementary activities that can be implemented to achieve enhanced environmental outcomes with less water recovery and much less social and economic impact on northern communities.
“We look forward to seeing the final results of that review and to the implementation of the measures agreed to today for the benefit of the environment and communities across the Basin.”

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