Media Release


Working Together, industry calls for Basin action

NSW Irrigators’ Council has today launched a new Working Together campaign, calling on leaders to switch gears away from the divisive and destructive water policy approaches of the past and towards new partnership models.

“The Basin Plan’s environmental outcomes will only be delivered by working with the affected communities, rather than continuing to impose blunt solutions developed from afar,” said NSWIC CEO, Claire Miller.

“We have to move away from the polarising implementation approach of the past 15 years, towards models of co-operation and collaboration. If our leaders are serious about looking after our river environments as well as Basin communities, they will switch gears.”

NSWIC’s Working Together report showcases just some examples of irrigation infrastructure operators and others already showing the way forward, working with environmental water holders to deliver environmental water where it needs to go on public and private land.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has already removed one in five litres of irrigation water in just one decade (or almost one in three litres if pre-Basin Plan reforms are included), with Sustainable Diversion Limits now in place across the Basin. This has reduced diversions for irrigation, town and industry from 35% of Basin inflows to just 28% [1].

The Productivity Commission in 2018 warned more water could be recovered, causing more socioeconomic hardship, but it could be unusable unless system constraints were overcome. This involves, for example, negotiating voluntary flood easements with thousands of landholders

“While our politicians have obsessed over water recovery targets, our industry is just getting on with the job of looking after the environment and producing food and fibre,” said Ms Miller.

“The Basin Ministerial Council meeting on Wednesday next week will test whether Basin leaders are willing to embrace a new normal of working collaboratively, or whether the Basin Plan continues to be a reform done to, not with, affected communities.”

“Imagine how much more could be achieved if governments redirected resources to do more of what is already being done in these case studies, rather than communities living under constant threat of further water recovery?”

You can see the full campaign document [HERE].

[1] 1111-BPKId-water-resource-assessments-development-baseline.pdf (;
26 November Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL)s as at 1 ~ surface water.XLSX (

Secure - Sustainable - Productive