Major Policy Actions
in 2019





NSWIC has worked tirelessly to ensure that our sector, and the communities our sector supports, can be as strong as possible.
The key progress so far is summarised below.
We thank our Members and partner representative organisations who have all played a role in the outcomes to date.



Action Report

Latest Win

The devastating social and economic conditions our regional communities are suffering.


NSWIC wrote to government to say enough is enough – the impacts of water policy on our communities must be understood.

We were pleased that in response to our calls, the Independent Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Basin was launched.

The concerns over the lack of integrity in water management and calls for a Royal Commission.


NSWIC has continued to emphasise across Government the need for utmost integrity and accountability in how water is managed.

An Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources has now been appointed, with investigative powers akin to a Royal Commission. We have met with the Inspector-Generals office twice now and have confidence.

The significant trend of underusage of irrigation water.


NSWIC has taking action to ensure every drop for farmers, can be used by farmers.

After numerous meetings with State and Federal Ministers, and the MDBA, we are pleased to have Minister Littleproud just announce an investigation into why water has not been able to be used by farmers.

Drought risk/burden sharing – concerns that water is shared unfairly between states at critical drought times.


NSWIC has written numerous letters to Government calling for a review of the Murray-Darling Agreement (which outlines the sharing arrangements between states), saying it requires a review and update to more fairly share water resources in critical times.

Most recently (18 November), NSWIC wrote to the Interim Inspector-General Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources (IIG) raising these concerns, and calling for adequate attention to the Agreement. [HERE].

On 3 December, Minister Littleproud committed to seek agreement from the Ministerial Council to provide appropriate powers to the Interim Inspector-General Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources (IIG), to immediately investigate the impact of the changing distribution of inflows to the Southern Basin, on State shares under the Murray Darling Basin Agreement.

The concerns about ‘overbank flows’ and riparian flooding wasting valuable water.


NSWIC wrote to government to express our concern about this waste of water and enormous losses.

We were pleased to have Ministers Pavey and Neville announce the Independent Expert Panel To Investigate Basin River Flows – which came with the commitment that “The Victorian and NSW Governments will not inundate private land without landholders’ consent nor compulsorily acquire land or easements as part of possible adjusting physical and operational limits to higher environmental flows.”

High prices of water that are making some farm businesses unviable.


NSWIC has continued to raise this critical issue with Government.

It is positive to see the ACCC Inquiry into Basin Water Markets, with broad terms of reference, and we hope that this Inquiry will bring about the necessary changes. NSWIC has participated in the Inquiry and will continue to.

Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) concerns.

The SDLAM stalling is perhaps the greatest risk for the irrigation sector now.

The SDLAM is crucial to minimising the social and economic impacts of the Basin Plan in the Southern Basin. If the NSW Government does not deliver on the SDLAM, buy-backs will return.

Work in progress:

Unfortunately, the projects have been so poorly designed that local communities cannot possibly support them. NSWIC continues asking Government for increased flexibility to get these projects right and get them in place.

The need for a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Basin Plan.

The Productivity Commission has done a thorough review into the implementation of the Basin Plan.

Work in progress:

This provides a valuable roadmap forward for how we can achieve better outcomes. We need to see these recommendations acted on seriously by Basin Governments.

Extreme Drought (worst on record) with less than 1% of typical inflows, meaning regional towns and communities face serious water security concerns of hitting Day 0.

NSWIC has long been calling for Government to invest in improving water infrastructure, particularly for drought affected communities.


Earlier this year, NSWIC wrote to all in government with a priority ask to: respond and adapt to a changing climate of water availability by investing in innovative infrastructure to improve the total available water balance for all water users, including farmers, the environment, towns and communities.

The NSW Government has just announced they will provide funding for 30 urgent water infrastructure projects in drought-affected communities.

This includes funding for water carting, critical town water infrastructure projects and capital water infrastructure projects.

Concerns over the management of the Lower Lakes.

NSWIC asked Government and the Interim-Inspector-General to ensure the utmost scientific integrity of water management (including the Basin Plan), including continuing to utilise the best available science to inform policy.

The MDBA announced on 10 December 2019, that the CSIRO will independently review science of South Australia’s Lower Lakes [HERE].