More time will allow Basin Plan to be finished smart way

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes Minister Plibersek’s announcement that she will seek to extend the Murray-Darling Basin Plan deadlines.

NFF President Fiona Simson said the extension would buy time for smarter completion of the plan without resorting to devastating buybacks.

“We all want to see the Plan completed, but a mad sprint to the finish line that hurts communities was never the right answer,” Ms Simson said.

“The Minister has sought and received reams of proposals that could deliver more than enough water to complete the plan without the need for devastating buybacks. An extension provides time for thorough assessment and implementation of those ideas.

“There’s a smart way to get this done, and that’s to partner with communities on innovative environmental projects. That’s in contrast to the dumb policy of using taxpayer’s money to shut down regional businesses. We’ve seen enough of that approach already.”

Ms Simson said while the proposed extension was positive news, it would still require the support of the Basin states.

“We don’t want to see this sensible idea fall victim to politics. We also need to understand the way this will be progressed. It should be done in a careful and sensible manner, and not seen as a free-for-all for other reform agendas.

“This is an opportunity to give water saving projects more time to materialise in consultation with landholders and communities.

“We would like to hear the Minister say that with this added flexibility, we can put buybacks in the bin for good and deliver the Plan the smart way.”

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