Features, News, Water

COAG endorsement paves ways for collaboration on Basin Plan

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has endorsed a report by the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council outlining how the Murray–Darling Basin Plan will be implemented, paving the way for collaboration with all Basin governments, and providing certainty to Basin communities.

Through the plan, which was agreed upon by Basin water ministers in Mark 2017, Basin governments have committed to actions, including an independent analysis of the efficiency measures program, consistent with the Basin Plan requirement for socio-economic neutrality; and implementing a package of supply measures that is expected to fully offset the remaining water recovery gap in the Southern Basin.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the plan was developed by the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council, and that its endorsement by COAG provides a credible pathway towards securing the triple bottom line outcomes of the Basin Plan.

“In committing to this plan, Basin governments have agreed to work together on a range of actions to support implementation of this particularly crucial phase of the Basin Plan, with a view to the new sustainable diversion limits (SDL) coming into effect in 2019,” Mr Joyce said.

“This includes an independent analysis of efficiency measures, consistent with the Basin Plan requirement to for socio-economic neutrality.

“Work on the independent review of socio-economic impacts of efficiency measures is already underway, and I released the review’s terms of reference last month. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has now appointed consultants EY to undertake this review, in consultation with a panel of independent experts from across the Basin.”

Mr Joyce said as part of the plan agreed by COAG, Basin governments will also be implementing a package of supply measures that is expected to fully offset the remaining water recovery gap in the Southern Basin.

“Basin Governments will also be working overtime to maximise environmental outcomes from the available environmental water, and to implement a ‘toolkit’ of complementary works and measures in support of the outcomes of the Northern Basin Review,” Mr Joyce said.

“I am confident that by continuing to work collaboratively, we can ensure the Basin Plan is implemented and Basin communities can be given the certainty they require to grow and prosper.”

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