MDBA welcome submissions for Basin Plan amendments

November 23, 2016

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has welcomed public submissions about proposed Basin Plan amendments that are designed to improve the outcomes for communities, the environment and regional economies.

The call has come after the MDBA held a press conference in Canberra yesterday to set out its proposed amendments for the Northern Basin, which included reducing the water recovery target by 70Gl.

‘‘Reducing the water recovery target from 390Gl to 320Gl in the north will save about 200 jobs in irrigation-dependent communities while continuing to deliver about the same level of environmental outcomes,’’ Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive Phillip Glyde said.

The public submissions are required by law and have to be open for at least two months.

‘‘Under the legislation we are obliged to have two months of people’s comments. We are pushing this out to February with Christmas coming up,’’ Mr Glyde said. ‘‘Once this time is up, we take the information and make our submission to (Federal Water) Minister Joyce and if he agrees, it then goes through parliament.

‘‘If the public submissions agree with our findings, we would hope to have the amendments passed by the middle of next year.

‘‘Regardless of what happens, hopefully it will be finished by the end of 2017.’’

#MoreThanFlow campaign spokesperson Michael Murray said there was no grey area.

‘‘The #MoreThanFlow campaign position is clear — any recommendation that sets a target beyond the current 278Gl of water recovery would be unacceptable to farmers and communities,’’ Mr Murray said.

On the other hand, Australian Dairy Industry Council Water Taskforce chairman Daryl Hoey said he was happy to see the reduction in target.

‘‘I’m pleased to see the MDBA proposing to reduce the water recovery targets in the northern basin,’’ he said.

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