The NSW Nationals today welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s announcement on adaptive water management, bringing some commonsense back into the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said calls by NSW to scrap impractical measures under the Plan have been heard, but more work still needs to be done.

“The Commonwealth Government has come through with a pragmatic proposal to remove the threat of destructive water buy backs,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Regional communities have lost confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Authority to deliver a Plan that restores water to the environment without the wholesale destruction of basin communities.

“We made it clear that NSW would not contribute to the 450GL of additional water for the environment, and we still need clarity from the Commonwealth as to where they will attain this.

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“The pendulum has swung too far towards punishing farmers for growing food and fibre across the basin without delivering a tangible dividend for the environment.”

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said NSW has consistently pulled its weight in trying to meet the objectives of the Plan.

“Even in the worst drought on record almost a million megalitres of environmental water was delivered to the South Australian border on top of their monthly entitlement flows, 677,000ML of which passed through the barrages into the Murray Mouth and sea,” Mrs Pavey said.

“There is already over 4 million megalitres of water entitlements recovered for the environment, we now need to concentrate on measures that use this water smarter to deliver the environmental, social and economic outcomes to all communities.

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“We look forward to seeing the legislative details of the Murray Darling Basin Authority split and we will work with the Commonwealth in implementing these new measures.

“We welcome better compliance across all States that aligns with the benchmark NSW has set. We will be offering the expertise of the independent Natural Resource Access Regulator and offering details of our reformed laws that strengthened our water compliance.”