The Gillard Labor Government will close down large areas of food and fibre production across northern Victoria if it adopts the final Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Water Minister Peter Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government could not support the Plan released by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) today.
"This Plan is a death warrant that will force agricultural industries across northern Victoria out of business," Mr Walsh said.
"There are smarter ways to achieve better environmental outcomes than stripping more water from rural communities.
"The socio-economic report outlines the industries that will be severely impacted upon: northern Victoria's dairy farmers, Sunraysia and Riverland horticulturalists, cotton growers in the Lower Ballonee and Murrumbidgee and New South Wales Murray rice growers.
"Communities across the Basin rely on the economic activity and jobs generated by these industries," Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said despite a 20-week consultation process, the final outcome had barely changed from what the MDBA released in November.
"The Gillard Government has now spent $210 million on MDBA staff and consultants to deliver three failed Basin plans," Mr Walsh said.
"People across the Basin have stood in front of Craig Knowles and told him that this Plan will decimate their livelihoods and their communities, but their concerns have been utterly ignored.
"Instead of taking a balanced approach that considers social, environmental and economic outcomes, the plan remains focused on environmental targets in the lower lakes.
"It would seem submissions from the Basin states – who will ultimately be responsible for the implementation of any final plan – were also thrown in the rubbish bin.
"Victoria has spent considerable time and resources trying to fill large knowledge gaps and give Canberra a better understanding of how the Basin works.
"We have invested our own resources into modelling how the MDBA's environmental goals can be achieved with fewer cuts to consumptive water and better management of the river system.
"Despite this work, the plan still recommends 2750 gigalitres of water be taken from communities, which will bring more pain for Victoria.
"It is also concerning that this target has not been apportioned to each state which means we don't know who will be forced to give up more water."
Mr Walsh said the Coalition Government had also raised key concerns about the 2015 review of sustainable diversion limits, the cost of implementation and compliance to state government and the prescriptive nature of environmental watering plans.
"This disappointing document remains practically unworkable, impossibly costly to implement and introduces legal uncertainty and another layer of regulation," Mr Walsh said.
"We must now work to secure changes through the ministerial council to make sure the legislation introduced by the Gillard Government does not disadvantage Victoria."