LETTER: Irrigators welcome basin plan change

THE signing back into law of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s northern basin amendment is a positive outcome to deliver for communities and the environment.

The northern basin amendment is important for a couple of reasons. It achieves better environmental outcomes than the requirements it replaces and at the same time minimises further job losses in northern NSW and southern Queensland communities.

Irrigators made clear from the first moment this recommendation was not our ideal outcome.

There will still be areas that we feel have negative impacts but it certainly is better for everyone than the alternative. 

Critically, this amendment commits resources to so-called ‘toolkit’ measures. 

These are things irrigators have been advocating for, such as improving conditions for native fish, tackling pest species and improving connectivity of the river. 

The agreements also include commitments to environmental flows and strict compliance.

The independent analysis of this amendment is that it will actually achieve more of the basin plan’s environmental objectives than the un-amended plan would have. 

Steve Whan, 

National Irrigators Council CEO

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