The Andrews Labor Government will deliver a Murray Darling Basin Plan that ensures all water users’ interests are protected.
Visiting Mildura today for the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting, Minister for Water Lisa Neville said Victoria was working with the other States and the Commonwealth to deliver an outcome which benefits farmers, regional communities and the environment.
Ms Neville successfully secured agreement for a comprehensive assessment of socio-economic impacts of the Plan in the southern Basin.
This will ensure the additional 450 gigalitres of water above the target of 2,750 gigalitres is only delivered with neutral or improved socio-economic outcomes.
This will take account of work Victoria has already done to assess socio-economic impact in the north of Victoria.
Agreement was also achieved on a way to secure the remaining 650 gigalitres of water required under the plan without any more buybacks of water. This was influenced by the work of the independent panel set up by Victoria and New South Wales to look at the offsets mechanism.
Victoria ensured that the pathway to be considered by COAG achieves Basin Plan targets in a way that protects communities – who are at the heart of the successful delivery of the Basin Plan.
Ms Neville also drove agreement that the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder would report regularly to the Ministerial Council, and that the Council would better embed complementary measures to achieve environmental outcomes under the Plan.
Ms Neville and other Ministers also acknowledged the input of stakeholders who attended a forum with Ministers in Mildura on Thursday evening.
The forum highlighted the serious concerns in the community and the range of views on how to best deliver the Basin Plan.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“We need a Plan that delivers the environmental outcomes that we signed up to, not just achieving a water recovery target.”
“Given the level of community concern about further water recovery we need to be making evidence-based decisions to ensure that we are delivering on the triple bottom line outcomes.”
“My priority is that we deliver the Basin plan in a way that protects all water users – which is why it’s critical to ensure COAG considers the socio-economic impact of the Plan.”