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Basin Plan annual report card

The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. The Basin Plan is a major reform agenda, agreed by the Australian Government and the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The Plan is intended to ensure that the shared water resources of the Basin are managed and used sustainably, in the national interest.

This is the first annual Report Card produced by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). It responds to feedback from the community seeking short, timely updates on progress. The MDBA has considered a number of technical reports and sources of information. Our assessment has accounted for project status, delivery timeframes, governance and funding, and community consultation.

We encourage Basin governments to continue to work together, with the wider community, to implement the Basin Plan in full. We ask for particular consideration of the highlighted risks. There are many challenges ahead, and success depends on a collective effort.

Six key elements of Basin Plan implementation have been assessed. Some elements are on track, some need more resourcing and immediate actions, and others are at risk of delay. These elements are interconnected, the Basin Plan needs progress in all areas to set the groundwork for a healthy and sustainable Basin.

Assessment - December 2018

Water resource plans

Some water resource plans are at risk of delay.


Some progress, but need to maintain momentum on improved measurement, transparency and enforcement.

Northern Basin Initiatives

Some progress, with significant work to lock-in improvements in state plans.

Environmental water delivery

Good progress, with further work required to deliver environmental water as needed.

Water recovery

— Bridging the gap: good progress, further work remains to complete full recovery target.

Efficiency measures: high risk of not meeting the initial June 2019 recovery target.

Sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism

Substantial work ahead to establish sound governance, funding and consultation arrangements to deliver agreed projects by 2024.



2018 Report Card - read the full report
Published: 13 Dec 2018  •   MDBA reports