Water

Push for more compliance

By Country News

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan needs greater compliance and more emphasis on checks and balances to ensure projects will deliver positive outcomes for communities and the environment.

That was the message Environment Victoria healthy rivers and nature campaign manager Juliet le Feuvre took to the Productivity Commission last Wednesday.

Responding to the commission’s recommendation that timelines for Sustainable Diversion Limit projects should be extended to ensure they achieved objectives, Ms le Feuvre said any projects that could not be achieved by the current 2024 deadline should be reconsidered.

‘‘If we can’t sort them out by 2024, then I don’t think they’re viable projects,’’ she said.

Speaking about a key recommendation of the Productivity Commission — splitting the role of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to move the government advisory role outside the authority’s scope — Ms le Feuvre voiced Environment Victoria’s support for the measure.

‘‘For some time we’ve been concerned about the independence of the MDBA but what we don’t want to see is control and controversy handed back to the states,’’ she said.

With compliance a long-running discussion in the basin, Ms le Feuvre said there had not been enough pressure put on NSW by the authority in the wake of the Four Corners report into water theft.

‘‘The MDBA in the past have not been pushing the NSW Government on it.

‘‘In the past they’ve ticked off on them being compliant with the basin plan.

‘‘They want to keep the NSW Government at the table so they’ll tick off something that’s not fine.’’