Vic farmers welcome independent Basin Plan study

The Victorian Farmers Federation has welcomed an independent analysis of Murray Darling Basin Plan efficiency measures which aims to show any socio-economic impacts involved in water recovery by going beyond legal requirements set by the Plan.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce released the terms of reference for the study, which were agreed upon at a meeting of basin ministers.

The announcement comes as state ministers are gearing up to submit their final projects for the Basin Plan’s Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment mechanism, an instrument that allows the Plan’s 2,750 gigalitres (GL) recovery target to be offset by 650GL through projects that deliver equivalent environmental outcomes with less water.

“Victoria has been responsible for a number of projects that have contributed to the Murray Darling Basin Plan,” Acting VFF President Brett Hosking.

“These projects have delivered significant savings and environmental benefits and we look forward to those benefits being recognised.”

Mr Hosking said the basin ministers had established a credible pathway for delivering supply measure savings to adjust the Plan.

But with a deadline set for June 30 2017, Mr Hosking encouraged state water ministers to present any remaining supply measure projects to the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

“We cannot miss an opportunity to have these projects put on the table and considered by the Ministerial Council, but we only have until the end of June 2017. It’s a critical deadline,” Mr Hosking said.

The MDBA must provide advice to Minister Joyce by December 15 2017 of the savings that can be achieved from these projects.

Mr Hosking said the VFF would continue working with the Victorian Government to ensure Victorian irrigation communities were not affected by the Basin Plan recovery targets.

The independent analysis of efficiency measures is due to be handed down in December 2017.

Source: VFF