The Andrews Labor Government has secured a major win for Victorian communities and the environment, with a key water target met under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
The agreement reached at the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra today signed off on up to 650 gigalitres worth of environmental works and measures to meet the Plan’s target of 2750 gigalitres, and included projects to provide environmental benefits in the Basin.
It’s an important step forward, ensuring the delivery of environmental benefits without the need to buy back productive water necessary for the future viability of our Victorian Basin communities.
Some of Victoria’s projects include a range of floodplain management and environmental flow works at Hattah Lakes, Gunbower Forest and National Park, Lindsay Island, Burra Creek, Belsar-Yungera and Mulcra Island.
The Victorian Labor Government also stressed the need for the comprehensive socio-economic review of water savings measures, to look at the real impacts of the MDBP’s implementation so far, as well as any further measures to recover an additional 450 gigalitres with neutral or positive socio economic impact.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville successfully moved to further investigate the inclusion and recognition of Aboriginal values for water under the MDBP – which is already happening in Victoria through the Labor Government’s Water for Victoria framework.
Ministers present also agreed to implement the Northern Basin Review in Queensland and NSW – provided this doesn’t have any environmental, social or economic impacts on southern Basin States.
Victoria secured agreement to withdraw the existing Goulburn River constraints project as a supply measure under the MDBP and will now develop a new Goulburn constraints project that must be accepted by the community, be feasible and based on improved data and on-the-ground knowledge.
Victoria reiterated its position that any constraints project will not flood private property without consent, nor compulsory land acquisitions.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“This a great outcome for the Murray-Darling Basin – balancing the needs of the environment, farmers, local communities and towns.”
“Achieving the 2750 gigalitre Basin Plan target is an important milestone, that has been achieved while we continue to support prosperous, liveable communities in regional Victoria.”