Impending amendments to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan a giant leap toward creating a sustainable, healthy River Murray

SA Gov

The Malinauskas Government welcomes the imminent passage of the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023 through the Senate which will deliver the 450 gigalitres promised to South Australia but not delivered.

Reports that Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek has secured the numbers with the Greens and some crossbenchers means we will finally get action on the 450GL.

Among a number of provisions within the Bill, it allows for the resumption of voluntary water buybacks from willing sellers.

After a decade of delays and sabotage by the former Coalition government which allowed upstream states to not deliver on vital water efficiency programs, voluntary buybacks are the only way the 450GL can now be delivered.

The Bill will get up despite the SA Liberals capitulating to the hard right of their party to oppose environmental water being returned to the River Murray in SA.

The Royal Commission into the River Murray in SA dispelled the myth voluntary buybacks adversely impact communities.

In a submission to the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023, the Commissioner for the River Murray, Richard Beasley SC, also highlighted the lack of any peer reviewed research on supposed impacts of buybacks.

“These assertions are not supported by peer reviewed economic research or papers, or defensible economic reports,” Mr Beasley said.

In the event there were any legitimate impacts on communities, the Albanese Government has set aside $20 million for South Australia.

As put by Susan Close

This is by far the most significant development with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan over a decade and it will make a real difference to the long term health of the River Murray.

Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek has honoured her commitment to South Australia, delivering on this key initiative that will deliver environmental flows promised to South Australia.

It is fundamental we have a healthy River Murray for the sake of the communities that rely on it, for the environment and for irrigators wanting a sustainable source of water for their crops.

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