ACT fulfils water recovery commitments under Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water

Andrew Barr MLA, ACT Chief Minister

Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction

The Albanese Labor Government and the Australian Capital Territory Government have reached an agreement to fulfil the ACT’s water recovery obligations under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The agreement to recover 4.9 gigalitres per year to bridge the remaining gap was co-signed by the ACT Government and marks an important milestone reached for both governments.

Reaching this milestone demonstrates significant success after years of limited progress under the Federal Liberal National Government.

Today’s announcement builds on the progress towards Bridging the Gap to the Sustainable Diversion Limits. Last month the Albanese Government announced that an expected 26.25 GL/y of water will be recovered through the voluntary water purchase tender – equivalent to 10,500 Olympic-size swimming pools returned to the river system every year. The Gap is anticipated to be bridged in three of the six catchments in New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Having now bridged the gap in the ACT, the Albanese Government will have recovered around 31 GL/y towards the 49.2 GL/y, or around 60 per cent of the remaining total target, across all seven catchments.

With Basin states and territories, the Albanese Government is safeguarding the river system for communities, industry, First Nations groups and the environment that depend upon it.

Quotes attributable to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek:

“Unlike the Liberals and Nationals, we are determined to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full.

“I recently announced we expect to directly bridge more than half of the remaining SDL gap, through a single tender.

“And today we’re announcing we’ve Bridged the Gap in the ACT.

“With another drought around the corner, we are getting straight to work to put the Basin Plan back on track by providing more time, more funding, more options, more accountability and more transparency.”

Quotes attributable to the ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr:

“This is an important day for water projects across the ACT. Under this agreement, the ACT Government will receive $58.8 million to deliver water efficiency and demand management projects that will save a total of 6.36 GL per year.

“Our waterways are not bound by borders; we know that our actions in the ACT will positively contribute towards the health of the river systems across our region and further afield.

“Restoring river flows within the upper Murrumbidgee River catchment supports improved catchment health and water security that is integral for the prosperity of communities in the ACT and surrounding region.”

Quotes attributable to ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury:

“The Murray Darling Basin is our country’s lifeblood, but for years it has been dying, thanks to corporate greed and political failures.

“While there has been some progress under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, it has been too slow. We know that we need to do much more to rebuild river and wetland health, improve water quality, deliver cultural flows and water for First Nations, and address shortages in water supply for critical human water needs.

“I am pleased to announce today that the ACT and Australian governments have finalised an agreement that will deliver the ACT’s 4.9 GL/year ‘Bridging the Gap’ water recovery commitment, and contribute an additional 1.46 GL/year of water towards other Basin water recovery targets in the national interest.

“This water recovery agreement is a key milestone and signals our ongoing commitment to increasing water efficiency and restoring the health of the Murray Darling Basin. We will continue working with the Australian Government to ensure that the full outcomes of the Basin Plan are realised. We will also continue working to protect the health of the upper Murrumbidgee River which has been starved of flows for too long.”

/Public Release. View in full here.