Murray-Darling Triple Bottom Line

Farmers slam Murray-Darling draft

December 17, 2010, SMH

<<The Murray-Darling Basin draft plan is riddled with holes and should not be used as a guide to save the ailing river system, the nation’s peak farming lobby says.

The National Farmers Federation released its submission to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority‘s draft proposals today.

The submission coincides with a meeting of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council in Albury.

The NFF argues that the draft plan is “fundamentally flawed” and needs to be dumped in place of more detailed research and infrastructure spending.

It wants a more collaborative approach between environmentalists, communities, and the agriculture industry to develop better environmental targets.

“We want to get the balance with the environment right, it is critically important to the communities that that happens,” NFF president Jock Laurie told ABC Radio today.

“I don’t believe you can deliver … without the communities working as part of the process [alongside] agriculture and environmentalists.

“They all need to work together to deliver .. and get that balance right.”>>

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[Source:  ‘Farmers slam Murray-Darling draft’,  20101217, by AAP, Sydney Morning Herald, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/farmers-slam-murraydarling-draft-20101217-1903u.html]

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‘Stand firm on Murray-Darling Basin plan’

December 17, 2010, SMH

<<The federal and state governments must stand firm on developing a robust Murray-Darling Basin plan to fix over-allocation and salinity, and ensure water security, South Australia’s River Murray Minister Paul Caica says.

The minister is attending a Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in Albury today, where he will seek to ensure the basin plan remains on track to deliver a functioning healthy river system.

Mr Caica said in a statement the plan must restore environmental values and provide for viable and productive industries and communities into the future.

“The development of a robust basin plan provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to address over-allocation, manage salinity issues and achieve improved environmental and water security across the basin and we cannot let this opportunity go,” he said.

“There is no doubt the launch of the guide could have been handled better, but equally, some of the reactions to the guide have also been overblown and we must be careful not to let this distract us, or weaken our resolve to deliver this important reform.”

Mr Caica said the the Murray-Darling Basin was a complex system undergoing a challenging reform that had not been done anywhere in the world at this scale.

“We can only succeed in this very challenging task by working together,” he said.>>

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[Source:  ”Stand firm on Murray-Darling Basin plan’, 20101217, by AAP, Sydney Morning Herald, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/stand-firm-on-murraydarling-basin-plan-20101217-1904a.html]

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Basin water plan could be $5bn short: report

Peter Ker

December 13, 2010

<<AN EXTRA $5 billion could be needed to achieve the controversial reforms to the Murray-Darling River system, according to one of the nation’s top water market firms.

Broking firm Waterfind has also warned that a conflict of interest exists so long as the federal government is the biggest buyer in a water market which it ultimately controls.

Waterfind analysed progress on the Murray-Darling reforms in its annual report and found the government’s existing $8.9 billion spend would not secure enough water to reach the minimums sought in October’s Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The guide said that a minimum of 3000 billion litres needed to be returned to the river, but Waterfind estimated the government’s $8.9 billion would only yield about 2500 billion litres.

If government buybacks of farmers’ water continued at the prices paid to date, Waterfind estimated an extra $1.6 billion would be needed to reach the 3000 billion litres minimum.

Returning 4000 billion litres to the river, as many environmental groups have requested, would cost an extra $5 billion according to Waterfind’s estimates, which the report said were ”conservative in the extreme”.

The Gillard government has previously acknowledged their spending may not be enough to satisfy the basin plan, and the government has promised to spend whatever is necessary to meet the requirements of the plan.

Waterfind also reported that government buybacks had so far deflated the price of water in the Murray-Darling.

The report said Australia boasted the world’s most advanced water market, yet it was still undermined by arrangements which made the federal Water Minister both a buyer and regulator of market.>>

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[Source:  ‘Basin water plan could be $5bn short: report’, byPeter Ker, journalist, Sydney Morning Herald, 20101213, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/basin-water-plan-could-be-5bn-short-report-20101212-18u0u.html]

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