Answers and more time needed on Basin Plan projects
Published on 03 May 2021
Another Basin Plan Minister’s meeting, more disappointment and ongoing uncertainty for the communities of the Basin.
That was the conclusion of the Murray River Group of Councils Chair, Cr Jason Modica after Ministers again failed to agree to plan for key Basin Plan projects that will deliver 605GL worth of environmental benefits.
“These projects will water parts of the floodplain that would otherwise miss out except in significant flood-years” said Cr Modica.
"They are really important projects delivering environmental benefits to our wetlands.
“We know many are on track, but the timelines are very tight. We also know that some of these projects will not be finished by the legislated deadline for water recovery” said Cr Modica.
The responsibility for recovering any shortfall in water recovery rests with the Commonwealth.
“We are still waiting to see a plan for what the Commonwealth is going to do if one or more of these projects fails to deliver the offsets they are meant to.
“That leaves our communities in northern Victoria uncertain and unable to plan with confidence.
“It leaves questions about how our critical wetlands will be restored and how environmental water will be delivered, and it leaves irrigators worried about how the Commonwealth will deliver the Plan on time.
Cr Modica concluded: “The best thing to do would be to extend the 2024 deadline for those projects that are reliant on more detailed scientific and community co-design work.
"That is the “win-win” here – for the environment and communities.
“We understand that would mean a legislative change. If that is too hard, then come up with an alternative plan that will address the reality that some of these important projects won’t be finished in time, but please, let our communities know so they can plan for the future.”