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MDBA Split

MDBA Split

Murray Darling Basin Authority Is Split To Create An Inspector General

The Federal Government has announced it will split the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) after a long campaign by irrigators.

A new statutory compliance role will split the MDBA’s conflicting responsibilities by creating an Inspector-General of Water Compliance.

The Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt’s made the announcement this afternoon, stating the government will focus more directly on Basin communities.

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Leader of the Victorian Nationals Peter Walsh said the split would help resolve conflicts in the Authority.

“Victorian irrigators have long had concerns that the MDBA has just become a massive bureaucratic machine caught up in the Canberra bubble,” Mr Walsh said.

“Splitting the MDBA is a common sense move that shows the Federal Government is listening to the Victorian Liberal Nationals and irrigation communities."

"The Productivity Commission recommended the split in January 2019, saying it was “an inherently conflicted entity and is perceived as such by stakeholders”.

"The Commission found the MDBA “marks its own homework” and recommended separating the MDBA’s responsibilities for river operations, implementation of the Basin Plan and its regulatory role.

“Victorian irrigation communities won’t survive further water buybacks so the Federal Government’s commitment not to re-enter the water market is a welcome relief for those who need to have enough water to keep producing fresh, clean food for our nation."

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said calls by NSW to scrap impractical measures under the Plan have been heard, but more work still needs to be done.

“The Commonwealth Government has come through with a pragmatic proposal to remove the threat of destructive water buy backs,” Mr Barilaro said

“We made it clear that NSW would not contribute to the 450GL of additional water for the environment, and we still need clarity from the Commonwealth as to where they will attain this.

“The pendulum has swung too far towards punishing farmers for growing food and fibre across the basin without delivering a tangible dividend for the environment.”

NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said NSW has consistently pulled its weight in trying to meet the objectives of the Plan.

“Even in the worst drought on record almost a million megalitres of environmental water was delivered to the South Australian border on top of their monthly entitlement flows, 677,000ML of which passed through the barrages into the Murray Mouth and sea,” Mrs Pavey said.

“There is already over 4 million megalitres of water entitlements recovered for the environment, we now need to concentrate on measures that use this water smarter to deliver the environmental, social and economic outcomes to all communities."

Meanwhile, the MDBA have welcomed the announcement.

"The new measures the Minister has introduced represent a boost in support for communities and address some of the issues the Murray–Darling Basin Authority has been hearing about from stakeholders in recent times," Chair of the MDBA, Sir Angus Houston, stated.

"We welcome investment in the three key areas—supporting communities, building trust and transparency, and improving the implementation of the Basin Plan."

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