Nationals Senator for New South Wales, Perin Davey, welcomed the release of the report by Interim Inspector General for the Murray Darling Basin, Mick Keelty, but acknowledged some people will be disappointed.
Senator Davey said the report will not fulfill the expectations of those who wanted to see changes to water management despite being a good examination of the rules and processes of river resource sharing.
“I know there was a hope among irrigators, many of whom have been on a zero allocation for multiple years, that this review may change water sharing arrangements potentially giving farmers in regions such as the NSW Murray more water,” Senator Davey said.
“It would have been great if the report found an anomaly which could be rectified to free up water for allocation.
“Instead the report finds it is not possible to transfer ownership or water to one party without affecting another, nor is it possible to make more water available now without jeopardising what might me be available next year.
“What the report does is re-enforce the multiple layers of water policy and how the different states manage their own allocations in very different ways. Those differences are more obvious in times of drought.
“It is essentially a plain English guide to water policy across the Murray-Darling Agreement and the different State allocation regimes which in itself is a very informative piece of work.”
Senator Davey said the recommendations from the report emphasise the need for greater transparency of processes and how the federal and state agencies work together.
“Confidence in the accountability of key agencies and how they manage water is lacking and that has been made clear by this report,” Senator Davey stated.
“I am pleased that the Government has accepted these recommendations which will ensure greater transparency, clearer communication and a better understanding of water management for stakeholders in the Murray-Darling Basin.”
“Increased transparency should also build in well with any recommendations to improve market transparency which may be included in the ACCC’s report on their review into water markets due later this year.”