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The NSW Government has declared it will no longer attend any future meeting with Murray Darling Basin states without willingness to discuss the ideas that genuinely matter to our communities.

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey said stakeholders across the Basin are telling us that the Basin Plan cannot be delivered by 2024, and legislative changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan are required.

“The Productivity Commission has recognised that we cannot meet the 2024 plan timeframes in the 2012 Basin Plan, therefore amendments are required and we need a pathway forward beyond 2024 to ensure high quality projects deliver both environmental, social and economic outcomes,” Mrs Pavey said.

Mrs Pavey today made a recommendation for an amendment of the Basin Plan 2012 to adjust the 2024 plan implementation timeframes. South Australia, Queensland and the ACT were unwilling to even discuss the matter.

 “There are critical elements of the Basin Plan that are not working for our communities. Supply and constraints measures projects are complex, but that is not a reason to just ignore them,” Mrs Pavey.

“The amendment to the plan should also be seen as an opportunity to ensure the plan is still fit-for-purpose and considers the social, economic and environmental objectives of the plan.

“We are sick of the talk fest; we cannot deliver the 450GL to South Australia without major social and economic impacts. This meeting was designed to ensure our states are working together for all basin communities – it is clear it is failing.”

Mrs Pavey said that if Water Ministers don’t want to discuss real issues like the required legislative changes, then the meeting may as well not take place.

“There is $2.8 billion set aside for projects in the Plan. Even before COVID-19 it was clear that the 2024 timeframes was not achievable,” Mrs Pavey said.

When the draft Plan was conceived, NSW was required to deliver 1276GL back to the environment. NSW communities have already recovered more than 1000GL towards that target. Now we need to get the right projects moving.