NSW Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, and Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, have met on the Murray River to reinforce their commitment to Basin communities through the recently announced review of the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism.
Dr Don Blackmore, Chair of the expert panel set up to review the mechanism briefed Ministers to discuss initial findings and recommendations to improve outcomes for the environment and for Victorian and NSW communities.
“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring we get the balance right in meeting our environmental obligations under the plan, while not setting a path of further hardship for business owners and industries in the NSW Basin,” Mr Blair said.
“The panel has already provided us with a number of options to improve the adjustment mechanism; including ensuring assumptions are real-world, and including further pertinent science within the model.
“Ultimately this makes the model more rigorous, which means we are better informed when it comes time to make the hard decisions.”
Ms Neville said it was important politics was put aside to get the best result for Murray Darling Basin communities and the environment.
”We don’t support buy backs of water and this independent panel will allow us to get the same environmental outcomes while using the same or less water,” Ms Neville said.
“We need to work together on this plan and get the balance right between the agriculture industry and the environment.”
Ms Neville also discussed the findings from a socio-economic study commissioned by the Victorian Government into the impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on the southern basin area.
The study shows the social economic impacts are real and are being felt across northern Victoria and the southern connected basin.
Mr Blair also visited Dights Creek where important river works have been completed, including an engineered log jam within an anabranch of the River Murray, as well as riparian revegetation works.
“These Dights Creek river works are shining examples of the complementary measures that deliver environmental outcomes without the need to simply add water. I was very pleased to hear that these types of projects are both highly effective and are supported by our river communities.”