Murray-Darling Basin Authority Communique 14 June


The Murray-Darling Basin Authority met on 13 June1023 in person on the lands of the First Peoples of Gomeroi Nations (Narrabri). The meeting was chaired by Sir Angus Houston with all members present.

Members were glad to be gathering in the northern Basin ahead of the Authority’s annual water conference, River reflections. The 2-day program of speakers and activities promised to be a valuable opportunity to exchange regional perspectives about water management and to share on-ground knowledge. The Authority also welcomed the opportunity to engage with members of the Basin Officials Committee and the Basin Community Committee over the course of the conference.

An update on current water resource availability highlighted that the volume of water in storage for the whole-of-Basin remains high overall for early winter at 90% capacity. Key water management activities in the River Murray System were discussed, including ongoing airspace management at Hume Dam and preparation of the 2023-24 River Murray Annual Operating Outlook, which will be released in the coming months.

A discussion was held on the strategic direction, scope and approach for delivering the 2026 Basin Plan Review. Members looked forward to the launch of the Roadmap at the River reflections conference and emphasised the importance of engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the next 3 years.

Members noted the commencement of the Productivity Commission’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Implementation Review 2023, and acknowledged the importance of the MDBA’s full participation in this review, including by making a public submission.

The Authority considered the next Basin Plan Report Card, which will be released in the near future and published on the MDBA website.

Members were also briefed on the status of the 16 Water Resource Plans (WRPs) in New South Wales yet to be accredited and operational. The Authority noted that 7 WRPs were withdrawn by the New South Wales Government in May in order for further work to be done before resubmitting them to the MDBA for assessment. The remaining 9 WRPs are with the MDBA for formal assessment and will continue to be worked through to ensure they are consistent with the 55 requirements of the Basin Plan.

The Authority noted with sadness the recent passing of former Chair of the MDBA Mike Taylor, and expressed their condolences.

Members expressed their thanks to Dr Joe Fraser, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) of the University of New England, for hosting a yarning circle that concluded the meeting.

The next Authority meeting will be held on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra) on Monday 24 July 2023.

Sir Angus Houston (Chair)

Professor Stuart Bunn

Dr Jane Doolan

Ms Roseanne Healy

Ms Susan Madden

Mr Rene Woods

Mr Andrew McConville (Chief Executive)

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