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The Commonwealth Government today let down communities across the Murray-Darling Basin by refusing to accept the unrealistic 2024 date for the 605 gigalitre environmental Basin projects.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said despite all states officials reaching agreement to reassess the deliverability of the projects by 2022, the Commonwealth refused to support an agreed way forward.

All states compromised in the interest of the common good for our communities, however the Commonwealth Government walked away from a pathway forward to deliver these projects,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Four of these projects will require individual agreements for up to 4000 landholders. Communities at Yanco and Menindee have been loud and clear that the projects need to be flexible.

“It’s ludicrous that the Commonwealth Government would walk away from the progress made by Basin State officials in the lead up to the Ministerial Council meeting, which would have given some clarity to finishing off the most ambitious and complex water reform process ever undertaken.”

Mrs Pavey said the Commonwealth have previously committed to no buybacks, yet the legislative framework suggests water entitlements could be at risk if the environmental projects are not delivered.

“Our communities across the Southern Basin demanded certainty as they recover from years of drought – the Commonwealth Government today walked away from a way forward creating further uncertainty for regional communities,” Mrs Pavey said.

“This is the third meeting of Basin water Ministers that this issue has been raised – it’s groundhog day for basin communities.”

Mrs Pavey said NSW will continue to work towards a pathway forward beyond 2024 to ensure high quality projects deliver both environmental, social and economic outcomes.