Malinauskas Government welcomes agreement to deliver the Murray Darling Basin Plan in full

SA Gov

The Malinauskas Government welcomes the new agreement to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full including the 450 gigalitres of environmental flows we have long campaigned for.

With the exception of Victoria, all Basin jurisdictions and the Commonwealth have agreed to deliver the plan in full including legislating for voluntary buy backs, the most cost effective and efficient way to deliver water back into the system.

Allowing for willing water holders to sell water for the environment is an essential tool for delivering environmental flows, yet one that has been opposed by the Liberals in Canberra and South Australia.

Former SA environment minister David Speirs sided with upstream states to make it more difficult to recover the 450GL, a decision heavily criticised by the Royal Commission into the River Murray due to its impact on South Australia.

Having also campaigned for more accountability from Basin states to deliver on their obligations, the Malinauskas Government welcomes the measures in the new agreement to achieve this.

About $20 million has been set aside for South Australian communities to deliver a community adjustment assistance program, the biggest investment of its kind in our state.

The agreement includes an extension of time to deliver the plan, recognising that delivery by 2024 is impossible after the Coalition delivered just 2GL over the decade they were in government. The new deadline for the delivery of the 450GL is 31 December 2027.

While the new agreement is a significant breakthrough in removing the barriers to recovering the 450GL, the Malinauskas government remains vigilant in ensuring the delivery of the plan and will consider legal action if progress is not made.

South Australia looks forward to working with the Basin jurisdictions to fully implement the plan in the best interests of the river’s ecology and sustainability.

As put by Susan Close

After more than a decade of the Coalition sabotaging the plan, we are pleased to see strong and decisive action from federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek to deliver it in full.

The 450GL is the bare minimum we need to ensure the river’s ecology can withstand the next dry spell.

I welcome the stronger safeguards and legislative changes required to allow for voluntary buy backs that the Commonwealth have pledged to pursue.

The Malinauskas Government will continue to defend the environment and ecological systems through legal action if this final agreement is not delivered in good faith.

As put by South Australia’s Commissioner for the River Murray, Richard Beasley SC

The agreement now reached on the Basin Plan is good news for its integrity, and for the environment that the Plan is designed to restore and protect.

The 450GL for enhanced environmental outcomes has been a long time coming, and while there will be some details to consider, the new deal puts an end to the unlawful abandonment by prior governments of this part of the Plan and provides a real pathway for the recovery of this vital additional water.

/Public News. View in full here.