NSW must deliver robust, climate-ready Water Resource Plans as matter of urgency

Nature Conservation Council

The Federal Government and water management agencies must use all available powers to make NSW deliver robust, climate-ready Water Resource Plans (WRPs) as required under the Basin Plan as a matter of urgency.

The Nature Conservation Council supports the Commonwealth Inspector-General of Water Compliance Troy Grant who has called on the Federal Government to use its Water Act ‘step-in’ powers to make NSW deliver its Water Resource Plans. [1]

Under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, NSW agreed to submit Water Resource Plans for 20 catchments by July 2019. While NSW did eventually submit the plans, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority rejected them as inadequate. Two have since been resubmitted (but not yet approved) while 18 others are outstanding. [2]

“These critical plans are now almost three years overdue,” Nature Conservation Council Water Campaigner Mel Gray said.

“For far too long, Federal National Party Water Ministers have enabled NSW to subvert the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but happily that era is over.

“After the change of government federally and the appointment of Tanya Plibersek as Water Minister, NSW has nowhere to hide.

“The state Water Minister Kevin Anderson MP is now under immense pressure to deliver what NSW promised 10 years ago when it signed the Murray Darling Basin Plan, including robust, climate-ready Water Resource Plans.

“These plans are not just abstract documents. They have real-world implications for the health of river ecosystems and communities.

“Delaying robust, climate-ready Water Resource Plans further will hurt communities, First Nations’ peoples and wildlife across the basin.

“We urge Minister Plibersek to use all her powers to ensure this happens as a matter of urgency.”


[1] Water compliance chief accuses NSW of ‘most critical failure’ of Murray Darling Basin Plan, ABC, 2-5-22

[2] “Final drafts of the water resource plans were due for submission to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority at the end of 2019. In December 2019, the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, announced that NSW would delay submission.”


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