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Monday, May 28, 2012
The Member for Dubbo and Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources Troy Grant said he's disappointed with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) revised plan, released today, given the extensive consultation period with communities and stakeholders.

Mr Grant said there has been little change to the version presented to communities and the State Government last year.

"I feel the MDBA has not listened to communities, farmers and irrigators concerns," said Mr Grant. "It does not propose any change to a planned water recovery target of 2750GL of water per year and against the expert advice of NSW hydrogeologists, the MDBA has reduced the groundwater diversion limits unnecessarily in this new version groundwater limits have been revised down from 4340gl to 3184gl. There are better ways to achieve environmental outcomes than taking water from rural communities."

Mr Grant said that NSW Government has sought a diversified and measured approach to water recovery to meet the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) in the Basin Plan.

In particular it required:
  • no further general licence buybacks until all appropriate infrastructure, environmental works and measures and rules review have been implemented,
  • a limit on licence buybacks to 3% per valley per decade once other measures are exhausted, although agreed strategic purchases can proceed,
  • equitable apportionment of the significant unallocated downstream reduction between states,
  • establishment of a structural adjustment package to assist impacted communities,
  • and a longer time frame than 2019 to meet the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) in valleys where significant quantities of water are required to be recovered.
"The MDBA also seems determined to play down the socio-economic impacts on rural communities," said Mr Grant. "We have a six week opportunity now to provide comment through the Ministerial Council process."

Media: Belinda Strahorn 0412345278

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