A new version of the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan put forward by the Murray Darling Basin Authority on Monday has drawn criticism from basin community representatives.RENEE THOMPSON August 9, 2012 4:24am
A new version of the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan put forward by the Murray Darling Basin Authority on Monday has drawn criticism from several basin community representatives.
Instead of the previous 2750Gl target, the new draft proposes a water recovery target of between 2400Gl and 3200Gl, which would be adjusted based on water-saving measures.
Member for Rodney Paul Weller and the National Farmers’ Federation have added their voices to a number of state and federal leaders critical of the new draft.
On Tuesday, Mr Weller echoed Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh’s comments that the MDBA’s latest draft did not sufficiently address the issues.
Mr Weller said the revised basin plan would cost hundreds of jobs in northern Victoria and was ‘‘unacceptable’’.
‘‘If you take another 300-400Gl of water out of northern Victoria, that is the ‘death knell’ for a number of communities,’’ he said.
‘‘That amount of water would produce enough milk for two milk factories.’’
NFF president Jock Laurie said the new draft failed to find the crucial balance called for by various irrigator groups, the community and last month’s Ministerial Council consensus document.
‘‘A month ago we welcomed the Ministerial Council’s directive to the authority that more attention be paid to ways to maximise the river systems’ efficiency through infrastructure, environmental works and measures and river operations,’’ he said.
‘‘The ministers called for an adjustment mechanism that would reduce the amount of water needed for the environment through improving the efficient use of water already in the system.
‘‘Investing in infrastructure, environmental works and measures and efficient river operations would make the water in the system work harder and, as a result, the sustainable diversion limit would decrease.
‘‘Yet from Monday’s report we can only conclude that this adjustment mechanism has been turned into an opportunity to take more water from the system, claiming that infrastructure would increase the sustainable diversion limit.
‘‘The NFF rejects using irrigation infrastructure to increase the limit.’’
However, Federal Water Minister Tony Burke, speaking to ABC Rural on Tuesday, said the new draft did include a sustainable adjustment mechanism that would allow irrigators to meet the same outcomes with less water taken away.
He said there was a ‘‘critical rule’’ to whether or not the figure was adjusted down to 2400Gl or up to 3200Gl.
‘‘The critical rule, if the number goes down, is you still have to be meeting the same environmental outcomes, and that allows for environmental works and measures to be there as a way of working effectively, in place of buybacks. ‘‘(And) if the number goes up, it can only be done in ways that don’t have negative impacts on communities.’’
Mr Burke said the latest plan was ‘‘an improvement on the last draft’’ while suggesting there was still work that needed to be done ‘‘until it’s right’’.
State governments have three weeks to respond to the latest draft.
Dookie artist Andrew Sands gets attention with red dirt-covered ute.
The talent was truly amazing at this year’s Mulwala Water Ski Club’s Got Talent competition.
Malcolm Campbell is the new president of the Lions Club of Tatura after he was inducted by Global Leadership 201V5 chair Pat Mills at the club’s changeover dinner at the Top Pub on Saturday, July 12.
Richard McLean notched up his first win when he took part in Echuca-Moama Cycling Club's fourth and final round of the Ivan and Lorraine Collings Memorial Trophy at Lockington.
Our Lady of Sacred Heart Primary School in Elmore has received a grant which will be used to buy musical equipment for the school.
If you thought it was cold yesterday morning, you weren’t wrong!
Brigade transforms station for Christmas in July.
Despite being scheduled to play at home this Saturday, Finley footballers and netballers will instead make the trip to Blighty.
Axedale student Zara Smith has created history, raising the single largest amount raised by a primary school student in the Jump Rope for Heart event’s 31-year history.
Cobram Garden Club hosts floral art, cake and more than 40 well wishers at luncheon to celebrate its double-decade milestone.
Despite being two wins from top spot, the Rams are now in a fight to make finals.
Innovative irrigators are being encouraged to apply for a 2014 Rural Water Award and the chance to win a $2000 cash prize.
The Melbourne Scottish fiddlers return to Swanpool to raise money for local CFA brigades. Group officer Jim Ranken and fiddle player Kristin Marriott
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.