2013 Winter - Will the Murray-Darling Basin Plan improve with age?

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Farm Policy Journal: Vol 10 No 2 - Winter 2013 - Full Journal - Will the Murray-Darling Basin Plan improve with age?

Australian Farm Institute (2013), Will the Murray-Darling Basin Plan improve with age?, Farm Policy Journal: Vol 10 Number 2 - Winter 2013, Surry Hills, Australia
ISSN 1449–2210 (Print)
ISSN 1449–8812 (Web)

$60.50


FPJ1002C - MDBA - Implementing the Basin Plan: The MDBA’S Perspective

MDBA (2103), Implementing the Basin Plan: The MDBA’S Perspective, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 1-7, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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After years of planning and negotiations, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan overcame its final hurdle and became law when it was overwhelmingly passed in the Australian Parliament last November (2012).
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is now getting on with the job of implementing the plan. An enormous amount of work is required over the next seven years to achieve this. To take some of the mystique out of what has to occur during its implementation phase, the key processes and activities are summarised in this article.

$12.10


FPJ1002D - Gordon - The National Farmers’ Federation Perspective on the Implementation of the Basin Plan

FPJ1002D Gordon, L (2103), The National Farmers’ Federation Perspective on the Implementation of the Basin Plan, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 9-15, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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Depending on the perspective of each person or organisation, the passage of the Basin Plan has met with mixed reactions. For Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Chair, Craig Knowles, it was seen as a time to celebrate. However, the jury is still out for the irrigation industry and the Basin’s communities who remain concerned about the potential social and economic impacts that implementation may bring.
For the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that the Basin’s irrigation communities will have a vibrant and sustainable future – as promised by politicians of all persuasions, successive governments and Ministers, and the MDBA.
The drafting of the Basin Plan was at times a painful and divisive process. Implementation will take years but first, work is required to rebuild the trust and respect of the Basin’s community. This is a critical starting point to form the basis of the long implementation phase.
Aspects of implementation that are front of mind are the resolution of the Intergovernmental Agreement, how all governments will work constructively together, what the constraints management strategy will deliver and how the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism will offset the volume of water required for the environment.
There is a great deal of difficult work to be done between now and 2019 and success will be dependent on coordination, collaboration, localism, and fairness – and implementation simply cannot be done without the states. With goodwill and cooperation, the NFF believes it can be done.

 

$12.10


FPJ1002E - La Nauze - Time to Roll Up Sleeves on the Basin Plan

La Nauze, J (2103), Time to Roll Up Sleeves on the Basin Plan, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 17-25, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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Compromised in its gestation and its final form, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is nonetheless worth implementing. It is incumbent upon all stakeholders to get on with the job of maximising the environmental and social benefits provided for in the Plan. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) computer modelling predicted that only 65% of environmental flow targets will be achievable under the Plan, indicating that in the long term, additional environmental water recovery will be required if the environmental objectives of the Water Act are to be fulfilled. Rigorous monitoring, evaluation and reporting will be essential to see if this claim bears out, and if it does it will be incumbent upon the Authority to recommend the Plan be amended early rather than risk further decline of the Basin’s ecosystems. In the meantime there are many pressing implementation challenges to tackle. Money set aside to overcome system constraints must be spent on projects that provide the biggest environmental benefit. The development of long-term environmental watering plans should be harnessed as an opportunity to build local knowledge and support into the process. Existing environmental water that predated the Basin Plan needs to be protected so that it doesn’t disproportionately bear the burden of any reduced rainfall due to climate change, taking us back to where we started. Existing river operating rules, regulations and inter-jurisdictional agreements must be brought into the 21st century, in line with the recommendations of the Regional Australia Committee. The MDBA must develop a scientifically credible scoring method for assessing ‘environmental equivalence’ under the sustainable diversion limits (SDL) adjustment mechanism. Governments will need to invest new money in monitoring, evaluation and reporting. Finally, governments and the whole Australian community have a moral obligation to resolve the unfinished business of Indigenous water rights.

$12.10


FPJ1002F - Maywald - The Basin Plan and Australia’s National Water Reform Journey

Maywald, K (2103), The Basin Plan and Australia’s National Water Reform Journey, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 27-35, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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When it comes to Australian water reform few issues loom larger than the management of the Murray-Darling Basin. It has taken more than a century of protracted negotiation and compromise to finally emerge with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan which was formalised in November 2012.
Now, the National Water Commission – the body responsible for auditing the Plan’s implementation – will start providing independent oversight of progress.
The National Water Commission sees the Basin Plan as a step-change in the governance and management of water resources in Australia’s largest and most important river system. The Basin Plan aims to deliver on the vision articulated in the National Water Initiative (NWI) by restoring the Basin’s rivers and groundwater resources to health and supporting strong communities and resilient industries.

$12.10


FPJ1002G - Gregson - The MDBA, Where to Now?

Gregson, A (2103), The MDBA, Where to Now?, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 37-41, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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As a Regulation, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was ‘made’ by Water Minister Tony Burke in November 2012. Sure, it was a disallowable instrument (either House of Parliament could disallow it) but that was highly unlikely to occur. As a result, the Parliamentary process was something of an anticlimax after several years of high profile national debate. Two Members tried a last hurrah with a Disallowance Motion, but it received very little support. The Federal Government likewise tried to breathe life back to the issue by releasing a media statement earlier this year on the theoretical last day for Disallowance (despite the Standing Orders, which govern how Parliament is conducted, being quite clear on hearing the same issue twice in a limited period).
Subsequent to all of that, the most frightening opinion of all came to the lips of too many commentators; the Basin Plan is ‘done’.
Oh, far from it.
Like all far reaching and broad debates, the setting of the high level policy directives is far simpler than working out how to implement them in practice. The difficulty for the Basin Plan lies ahead – a problem exacerbated for irrigators by what will now be a lack of public leverage given the unfortunately common perception that it is ‘done’.

$12.10


FPJ1002H - Babbar-Sebens - An Engineer’s Perspective on Water Catchment Planning

Babbar-Sebens, M (2103), An Engineer’s Perspective on Water Catchment Planning, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 43-45, Winter, Surry Hills, Australia.

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WRESTORE is an online, democratic tool for stakeholders in a watershed to test and optimise scenarios of the spatio-temporal design of restoration and conservation strategies in their landscape. The model and instruments used do not address all issues relevant to the Murray-Darling Basin, but this approach gives participants tools to test different alternatives. The application of this type of tool to discussions about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan would seem beneficial.

 

$12.10


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