Media Release


Here are the Basin Plan options – so, opt for them

The NSW Irrigators’ Council has identified options that will deliver the Murray Darling Basin Plan’s environmental objectives without shredding its social and economic fabric.

“The Federal Government asked all stakeholders for innovative ideas to deliver the Basin Plan, and now they’ve got them,” said NSWIC CEO, Claire Miller.

“Basin States and the Commonwealth have choices to do this right. Basin communities now need them to opt for the options, when the Basin ministerial council meets next month.

The NSWIC submission[1] to the Federal consultation sets out many options in detail, including:

  • Expand 450GL eligibility to stock and domestic systems, and town water efficiencies.
  • Off-farm efficiency projects in several irrigation districts.
  • Murray Irrigation Ltd (MIL) Reconnected Floodplains project.
  • River operations reform to free up discretionary water for environment.
  • Market solutions, ie, temporary trade such as Narran Lakes; lease-back models.
  • Recognition of rules-based recovery since 2012.
  • Recognition of IIO partnerships with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
  • Private property wetlands watering program.
  • Expand fish screening program and save close to three million native fish annually.
  • Government funding for fish passageways at key weirs and blockages

“These options enable the environmental objectives of the Plan to be met, and even exceeded, in a way that works together with our Basin communities, rather than harms them,” said Ms Miller.

“This is not about walking away. It is about looking at how to address the biggest environmental degradation drivers – and just buying back even more water from farmers won’t fix these.”

With 1 in 3 litres of irrigation water redirected to the environment, total diversions have dropped to just 28% of inflows, well within global standards. But that has come at the cost of more than 3100 jobs across local economies in southern Basin communities.[2]

“Communities have been hit very hard by water reforms, with concerning implications for Australia’s food bowl – this trend mustn’t continue, and doesn’t have to,” said Ms Miller.



[2] 2023-04-19-Jobs-impacts-socio-economic-report.pdf (

Secure - Sustainable - Productive