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‘We can’t carry the basin plan burden on our own’

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February 15, 2018

LOCAL government representatives from across the Murray-Darling Basin have reaffirmed their support for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan Amendment passed through parliament last year.

LOCAL government representatives from across the Murray-Darling Basin have reaffirmed their support for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan Amendment passed through parliament last year.

The amendment reduces the water recovery target in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin from 390GL to 320GL but is now subject to a disallowance motion by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

The motion will be put to the Senate for resolution in the next fortnight.

Murray Darling Association (MDA) member councils and communities of the Northern Basin have called on Senators to support the Amendment as it stands and provide certainty for their already struggling towns and industries.

‘‘Our members from all states recognise the importance of local government working together to ensure the fair and equitable implementation of the basin plan,” MDA national president David Thurley said.

Region 12 representative, Balonne Shire Council chief executive Matt Magin, said Northern Basin communities already hard-hit by buybacks could not afford to give up more water.

“We support the basin plan and we want to see it implemented but we can’t carry this burden on our own,” he said.

“If the disallowance motion succeeded and the recovery target was increased to 390 gigalitres, it would mean further uncertainty for all Northern Basin communities. Dirranbandi would be finished and St George would be decimated.”

MDA chief executive Emma Bradbury said the unanimous support for the Region 12 motion demonstrated the strength of the association.

"Our members recognise that every region has different priorities and challenges under the basin plan and we don’t shy away from that," she said.

"Our role is to ensure local government is able to stand together in pursuit of the best outcomes for our regions – whatever they may be."

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority recommended the amendment after extensive consultation with the impacted communities and balanced consideration of the environmental impacts of the recommended reduction.

Councils and individuals interested in joining the MDA can contact the office on (03) 54803805, or go to www.mda.asn.au

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