On 28th November the Murray Darling Basin Authority released the ‘Proposed Basin Plan
There is a long history to this issue, but a recent summary is:
- March 2008 - The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 was passed in Federal parliament (and corresponding legislation in relevant state and territory governments) stating that the MDBA be created and a Basin Plan be developed.
- October 2010 – Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan released for comment
- October 2010 – Parliamentary inquiry into Murray-Darling Basin Plan commenced
- January 2011 – Craig Knowles appointed Chair of MDBA
- March 2011 – Parliamentary inquiry delivers its report into the Murray Darling Basin Plan
- November 2011 – Proposed Basin Plan released.
The Proposed Basin Plan is open for comment
for 20 weeks. After this period the MDBA will revise the Plan and release a final Basin Plan which then goes to Federal Parliament to be passed by both houses. There is an opportunity to provide submissions on the Proposed Basin Plan here – so if you have an opinion, now is the chance to put it forward. As an aside I think it is far more valuable (and far more likely to be considered), if you write your own submission rather than sign some kind of generic petition.
There is no doubt that this is a major national reform that affects hundreds of thousands of people, industries and towns across Australia. And while there is agreement that things need to change, exactly how, where and who pays is another story. Some key points that get overlooked in this debate are that there are no compulsory acquisition of water licences, water rights or property rights, and that the implementation
of the Plan is stretched over decades rather than months. This is about a long term transition.
If you are interested in the future of the Murray Darling Basin, its rivers, the communities, its ability to sustain healthy communities and economies in an environment affected by climate change, then I think you should make the effort to put your views forward. Here is the link
to put a submission in.