National Farmers' Federation

Statement to the Federal Senate on the Murray Darling Basin Plan

The signatory organisations to this statement call on the Federal Senate to act in the best interests of the nation and reject a disallowance motion by the Greens to block the 605GL sustainable diversion limit (SDL) for the southern Murray Darling Basin.
The motion is scheduled for debate tomorrow, 8 May.
The Murray Darling Basin Plan is an historic compromise designed to protect the environmental, social and economic needs of the Basin and its communities.
The 605GL SDL provisions were independently determined and are a critical component of the Plan.
There are a number of new efficiency measures to be explored in the 605GL suite. They must be allowed to be implemented. Any attempts to frustrate these measures will be at the expense of the environment, farmers and Basin communities.
The Plan is well down the track of acquiring and utilising environmental water. Already 77% of the original water recovery target of the Murray Darling Basin Plan has been recovered
The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s 2017 evaluation has shown the recovered water is being put to good use, with over 750 environmental watering events in the past four years.
The Basin plan was a historic compromise, no stakeholders, including farmers, got all they wanted nor did they lose all they sought to protect.
Since its adoption in 2012, Basin communities have been working within the confines of agreement. Farmers, in particular have planned their businesses on the stipulations imposed by the Plan. They need and deserve certainty that the Plan will be implemented as intended. 
A calm and considered bi-partisan approach and opposition to the disallowance motion is the only responsible outcome.
We cannot afford to see a repeat of the Senate’s approach to the Northern Basin Review recommendations that saw New South Wales and Victoria declare their intention to withdraw their involvement in the historic Murray Darling Basin Plan.

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