Media release

MINCo: Murray Darling Basin Plan

8 June 2018

I'm pleased with the outcomes from today's MINCo meeting regarding the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

We all took a leap of faith in one another, and the two million Australians who live in the basin can breathe easier. It was time to show leadership and the Basin Plan is now on track.

Regarding the 450GL of upwater: The 450GL will only be delivered with neutral or positive social and economic outcomes. MINCo has agreed to this.

Given this, we need further work to develop detailed additional criteria defining neutral or positive socio-economic impacts. We'll aim to have this done by Christmas.

In the meantime, let's get cracking on the off-farm, urban and industrial projects and begin delivering water towards the 450GL total from those projects.

I don't consider the EY analysis the bible of the basin but it's a good starting point to work from. The EY analysis says around 369GL of the 450GL could be recovered through industrial, urban and off-farm projects.

Ministers have agreed the first priority is to recover the 62GL towards the 450GL required by June 2019, to make sure the 605 can lawfully be delivered.

We got commitments today from the states to deliver up to 64GL towards the 450GL through projects identified by the states - more than the 62GL required.

The Communique says: "Ministers confirmed that Basin Governments are now committed to the funding and delivery of SDL adjustment mechanism projects, in consultation with local communities, between now and 2024."

I'm happy to explore options to help fund metering in order to roll it out faster. Compliance is important, regardless of which industry you're in. I've already commenced discussions Queensland and NSW to explore options for funding water meters to improve compliance.

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