Water recovery doubt

By Rodney Woods

Although being happy overall with the Productivity Commission’s report into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew urged the commission to find a way to get the contentious 450Gl delivered.

Speaking at the commission’s inquiry into the basin plan, Mr Pettigrew used his presentation to get clarification on certain findings in the commission’s report.

The one of most interest was when Mr Pettigrew asked the commission to find a way to deliver the 450Gl.

‘‘We welcome the draft report and believe it goes a long way in answering a lot of questions with the basin plan, particularly its implementation,’’ he said.

‘‘We are in agreeance with a vast majority of the recommendations.’’

Mr Pettigrew’s first clarification referred to draft finding 5.1, which discusses the concerns of stakeholders on the impacts of additional water recovery on regional communities and whether the current test of neutral or improved socio-economic outcomes fully address those concerns.

‘‘Starting with the draft finding 5.1, you (the commission) say there that ‘however, addressing these concerns by requiring efficiency projects to have any adverse impacts is impractical, and risks ruling out projects that achieve outcomes at least cost’,’’ he said.

‘‘We would certainly support that.

‘‘There’s been a lot happening in this region on achieving the 450Gl at the moment here with socio-economic guidelines being presented by many different groups and the state government.

‘‘In my view, those guidelines look to be designed to rule out any hope of achieving the 450Gl.

‘‘I would welcome the suggestions there on how that might be achieved.’’