The Murray Darling Basin Authority confirmed at Senate Estimates today that the Basin states can modify projects under the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism to address community concerns.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, said the MDBA made clear that projects that have been notified under the SDL Adjustment Mechanism can be modified and adapted to respond to issues raised during the consultation.
“I have said for some time that if the States have changes they want to make to projects to accommodate community concerns, they should get on with clarifying those issues and bring forward any changes that they wish to see made.
“I now want to see the States step up and get on with delivering the projects that have contributed to 605 GL staying in the hands of irrigators.
“This paves the way for the NSW government to continue their efforts to work with their communities on any adjustments to projects that are needed to get things moving.”
At Senate Estimates today, NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey used the example of a project proposed for the Murrumbidgee system at Yanco Weir with community concerns calling for alternatives to be considered.
Director of River Operations at the MDBA, Andrew Reynolds said modified projects would need to align with what has been notified but the expectation has always been for them to be adapted as the business cases are built as more information is gathered through consultation.
“This is great news for our communities who have for many years been concerned that these projects once notified were set in stone,” Senator Davey said.
“The risk of not having SDL Adjustment Projects is a shortfall in water recovery and we do not want that to happen.
“By the same token, we don’t want to force projects that have been poorly designed and won’t achieve the desired outcomes and that is what the community are telling us on at least two of these projects, Menindee Lakes and the Yanco Weir,” Senator Davey said.
She also highlighted most of the SDL Adjustment projects were either complete or on track to be completed.
“NSW has done so much to meet their obligations thus far but they have always rightly said these final adjustment projects need to have community support,” she said.
“I commend NSW for their commitment to their communities and to delivering projects that focus on outcomes.
“I am pleased to hear directly from the responsible Commonwealth agencies that modifications can be accepted so now, we can focus on how we can progress with projects and work around the obstacles.”