Draft NSW Water Resource Plans, which outline how the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will be met within each river valley of the Basin, are being revised by NSW following feedback from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
Chair of the NSW Irrigators’ Council (NSWIC), Jim Cush, said “We welcome the scrutiny, because these are important plans, and we need to make sure they are done right and are fit for purpose.”
Mr Cush today told the Senate Select Committee on the Multijurisdictional Management and Execution of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that every stakeholder, including the environment and farmers alike, should welcome scrutiny as part of due-process.
“If the plans were just ticked through, what confidence would we, or anyone else, have that they had been scrutinised to ensure they will actually achieve what they set out to achieve?”
“There is a process in place that every state must follow, and that due-process must take place.”
The assessment process is detailed, requiring assessment against the 55 requirements of the Basin Plan, and importantly includes review by First-Nations.
“Irrigators in NSW raised significant matters during the public consultation in the development phase, and we hope that by the end of this process, these matters will have been worked through and resolved,” said Mr Cush.
“The development of Water Resource Plans in NSW has coincided with a devastating drought, towns without water, and an overhaul of water management in the state.”
During this time, the state has established the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) to police compliance with water laws, is developing Regional Water Strategies to address water security, and is in the process of implementing a world-leading metering framework.
“Water Resource Plans are just one piece of an extensive water reform program that has been occurring in NSW.”
“Irrigators look forward to seeing the final plans, and hope they meet not only Basin Plan requirements, but the broader requirements of river communities in NSW.”
The MDBA has indicated that: “All other Basin states have had inconsistencies identified in their initial water resource plans, and changes have been required before they can be recommended to the federal water minister for accreditation.”