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Independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Basin

The Australian Government has requested an independent panel undertake an assessment of social and economic conditions in irrigated communities across the Basin.

The assessment will be undertaken by an independent panel, to be announced soon, and completed by the end of December 2019.

This project will be an important part of the longer term efforts to monitor the social and economic conditions in the Basin, and to evaluate the outcomes of the Basin Plan. It may consider:

  • the effect of changing patterns in water use and trade and trends in the temporary water market that may be having an effect on water prices including the role of water market participants (including speculators)
  • water availability and the effects of state water allocation policies and regulations on irrigators and communities
  • the effects of water sharing and river management (including operational rules), on communities, irrigators and the health of the Basin rivers
  • changes in the location, size and mix of irrigated agriculture
  • environmental water recovery under the Basin Plan, including the impacts of buybacks, and government investments in on-farm and off-farm irrigation infrastructure, community development
  • the social and economic outcomes for communities and industries from the use of held environmental water.

Community consultation

The panel will undertake genuine engagement with communities across the Basin.

Communities and stakeholders have different needs and will be engaged differently.

The project will be evidenced-based and participatory, with the scope of the work and the analytical approach co-designed with community representatives wherever practicable.

Next steps

A panel will be appointed shortly and will then finalise the terms of reference in consultation with stakeholders.



Assessment of the social and economic conditions of communities across the Murray Darling Basin and the drivers of change
Southern Basin community profiles
Northern Basin Community Profiles
Published: 08 Apr 2019  •   Independent reports