Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Andrew Cripps

Queensland disappointed with revised Murray-Darling plan

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps is disappointed a revised Draft Plan for the Murray-Darling Basin released today has failed to address concerns raised in a Queensland Government submission.

The Minister said the revised Plan released by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is not materially different from the draft released by the Authority in November last year.

“The Queensland Government raised a number of significant and legitimate concerns in its submission to the original draft and unfortunately none of those appear to have been addressed in this revised Plan,” Mr Cripps said.

“Our request for more detail about the science used to determine the proposed water allocation or sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) has been ignored in the revised Plan.

“These water reduction numbers have not changed since the original draft plan and this remains a major concern for affected communities within the Murray Darlin g Basin in Queensland.”

The Queensland Government’s concerns about community adjustment mechanisms and extra compliance costs under the proposed reforms have also not been addressed by the new document.

“It is difficult for the Queensland Government to support this revised Plan when the manner in which the Australian Government will provide community adjustment assistance and financial support for state implementation costs is still unclear.

“The Authority has outlined the likely social and economic impacts of any water reductions proposed in the draft plan and yet hasn’t told us how those costs will be covered.”

Mr Cripps said the Queensland Government would consider supporting the draft’s starting propositions if the Australian Government clearly outlined how it would manage the pressures for economic adjustment and support in affected communities.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will now undertake a detailed review of the revised Plan and, as a member of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, provide advice to the Authority within six weeks.

“The State Government’s strong focus is on the impact of this revised plan on Queensland’s local communities, rural industries and environment,” Mr Cripps said.

“The Queensland Government acknowledges the need for reform across the Basin. Over the coming critical weeks we will continue to work with the Authority, the Australian Government, other Basin states and stakeholders to deliver a better outcome for Queensland.”

The revised draft Basin Plan and associated reports are available on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s website at www.mdba.gov.au