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Stocktake report shows progress for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray

Friday 4 th September 2015

Stocktake Report Shows Progress for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

An independent review of the progress of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan shows the plan is on track to deliver its environmental benefits. The Sustainable Diversion Limit stocktake shows that more than 500 gigalitres (GL) less water will be needed to meet environmental targets.

Federal Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan must deliver a triple bottom line for all parties involved in the plan to be satisfied. We are seeing a good outcome for the environment and also for the community, but we are yet to see good outcomes for our irrigators.

“It’s good to see we can achieve better environmental outcomes without taking more water out of irrigator’s hands. However, irrigators, especially those in Murray, have been impacted the harshest by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, with water prices skyrocketing on the temporary water market and the inability to buy water back from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH).

“The CEWH has only released water on to the temporary water market twice since its inception; this water was released to the Gwydir Valley and Peel, both of which are in NSW. The revenue made from water sales can only be used to buy back more water. This needs to be changed so the CEWH can put money into works and measures or other water saving means,” Sharman Stone said.

“The Murray electorate is also facing the prospect of being potentially flooded by the Constraints Strategy, which has been proposed to keep the mouth of the Murray open in South Australia, instead of using bulldozers to move sand.

“We need to also make sure the On-Farm Water use Efficiency grants put all the saved water back into the market, rather than 59 percent going to the CEWH.

“It is better news that a volume greater than Sydney Harbour no longer has to be found within the sustainable diversion limit. However, It is still the case that Goulburn Murray Water is looking to find another 200 GL to take out of the irrigator’s pool in Victoria. This is not acceptable and along with the Victorian Farmers Federation I continue to call for an urgent Royal Commission into the destruction of our irrigation system by Goulburn Murray Water,” Sharman Stone said.

Media contact: Callum Whitehead 0437 096 982