Plans get good report

By Country News

The latest report card on state progress in developing the plans that will govern how water will be shared in different catchments across the Murray-Darling Basin shows there is a clear path to achieving accreditation of all plans by June 30, 2019.

The Water Resource Plans take effect on July 1, 2019 and set the limits on how much water can be taken and how water for the environment will be managed.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority acting chief executive Carl Binning said the quarterly progress reports were a key recommendation of the basin-wide compliance review undertaken by the MDBA and an independent panel.

‘‘This is one way we’re increasing public transparency and demonstrating agency accountability in our work and in the work of our state partners,’’ Mr Binning said.

‘‘We heard from the review and from stakeholders that we could improve visibility of our decision-making processes.

‘‘This report details the stage of development each of the 36 ground and surface water plans are at. It also includes a table outlining when each of them is due to us for assessment and when we plan to provide them to the Commonwealth Water Minister for accreditation,’’ Mr Binning said.

‘‘A recent amendment to the basin plan settings in the south and the anticipated change to groundwater area boundaries mean this report includes new planning areas in NSW and Queensland.

‘‘While these plans are not as far advanced as others I’m pleased to see that work on them is under way.

‘‘There is still a lot of work to do but we’re working closely with basin governments to ensure basin plan outcomes can be delivered as intended through the WRPs.

‘‘This report underlines the continued need for the MDBA and our partner jurisdictions to work co-operatively to resolve issues in a timely way so timeframes don’t slip.’’