Victoria stands by the Murray Darling Basin Plan and does not support starting again or renegotiating the water recovery targets.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville said renegotiating the Basin Plan targets would put Victorian communities who rely on the Basin – as well as the environment – at risk.
Victoria is on track to meet its obligations under the Basin Plan, already delivering or contracted to deliver, 800 GL for recovery out of the state’s 1,075 GL target to improve the health of rivers and land in the Basin.
If a much larger recovery target was implemented, many towns in Victoria would be under grave threat.
This includes Cobram, Kerang, Cohuna, Kyabram, Tatura, Rochester, Pyramid Hill, Boort, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Merbein, which have already suffered more than 40 per cent irrigation job losses.
At the last Ministerial Council meeting, agreement was reached on a way forward to continue water recovery above the 2750 gigalitre target in the Plan, but not at the expense of our communities.
The Government will review the report and recommendations released today from the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission, however there is no doubt the plan, and the way it was structured, was legal.
COAG has previously delegated responsibility for the implementation of the Basin Plan to the relevant Water Ministers in each Basin State and we do not see a reason for this arrangement to change.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“The Royal Commission was set up to examine water theft but has instead decided to unpick the Murray Darling Basin Plan itself.”
“Any suggestion of starting again or significantly increasing the targets would be a disaster for the environment and jeopardise progress made so far.”
“All Basin States need to move forward in implementing the Basin Plan, providing communities with confidence that the balanced social, economic and environmental outcomes of the Plan can be achieved.”