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Wide-ranging assessment of Plan's impact an important step for the future

9 April 2019

The recently announced Assessment of the Environmental, Social and Economic Impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan will be crucial to keeping the Plan on track and delivering for all stakeholders, National Farmers' Federation Water Taskforce Chair Les Gordon said.

The Assessment is one of the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Basin Five Yearly Review and will lay the groundwork for the Plan's continued evolution.

The Productivity Commission recommended the Assessment take a close look at delivery capacity issues and third party effects associated with changes in water use and trade and to communicate the findings of this work to the water market.

Mr Gordon said it was a critical recommendation.

"It is anticipated that once the Assessment is complete it will better inform how water is managed for all user cohorts across the Basin.

"There is an ongoing concern about the Plan’s ability to deliver against its stated objectives.

Any outcome of this process must clearly recognise the concerns of Basin communities.

"This is why we advocated strongly to ensure an independent review process was incorporated in statute (the Productivity Commission's Five Yearly Review of the implementation of the Plan).

"We also engaged closely with the Productivity Commission's consultation process and continue to advocate for the full implementation of Report's recommendations."

Mr Gordon said bi-partisan support for the Plan's future was critical. "A strong show of support for the Plan and the Productivity Commission's recommendations is needed to assure farmers and the communities that depend on a healthy river system, that the future of the Plan is secure.

"Water policy, implementation and management is difficult, there are always a broad range of views.

"We continue to support measures that apply improvement to its implementation. Dynamic responses to issues are essential to progressing a plan that includes options for change, and for improvement," Mr Gordon said.

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