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Published: 27 September 2019   •   Media release

State governments are being urged to put the pedal to the metal to finish their water resource plans on time, as the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) issues its latest quarterly report on progress.

The MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said it was very pleasing to see four more water resource plans accredited by the Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud, in the past week—the Queensland Border Rivers–Moonie and Condamine Balonne plans and the groundwater and surface water plans for Victoria’s Wimmera–Mallee.

“Alongside the South Australian Murray Region and the Warrego–Paroo–Nebine plans, they bring the total number of accredited water resource plans to six, which includes the full suite required by Queensland,” Mr Glyde said.

“At this stage we are confident of recommending the remaining plans for South Australia, Victoria and the ACT to the Minister according to schedule. We are providing assistance where we can to ensure the timely submission to the MDBA of high quality plans by the New South Wales Government, which is responsible for 20 of the 33 water resource plans.”

Mr Glyde said the plans needed to be submitted to the MDBA for assessment by the end of 2019, in order for them to meet the deadlines agreed by the states.

“Water resource plans bring into effect the new sustainable limits of water use that ensure available water is shared fairly between communities, industries and the environment,” Mr Glyde said.

“We anticipate those for the northern Basin will include state commitments to effectively protect water for the environment and downstream communities during periods of low flow.

“The community rightly expects their local water resource plan to be robust and fit for purpose, which is why it is so important that state governments genuinely consult the community on each plan to ensure it reflects the unique needs of each catchment.

“Our role is to rigorously assess their consistency with the Basin Plan, using a clear process set out in the Commonwealth Water Act. There is considerable work involved to ensure each plan is thoroughly evaluated and a robust recommendation prepared for the Minister in line with Basin Plan requirements.”

The MDBA’s process is fully transparent, and ensures that all water resource plans received for assessment are published on the MDBA website at mdba.gov.au/basin-plan-roll-out/water-resource-plans.

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