States need to step up to help implement Basin Plan

27 November 2020

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt is encouraging States to move forward with implementing Basin Plan projects to help support Murray–Darling communities.

Ahead of the Ministerial Council meeting today, Minister Pitt said he expects to see positive initiatives raised so that together, all Basin Governments can take further steps towards completing the final parts of the Plan.

“This is an opportunity to drive practical action, and I want to see the States working with the Australian Government to ensure that happens,” he said. 

“I am willing to be flexible on projects and am not tied to ideas that are not going to work.

“I expect the States to step up to their responsibilities, and I want to see the conversation at the Ministerial Council focus on what can be delivered in the timeframes defined by the Basin Plan.

“Too often Ministers have spent time arguing about what can’t be done and why, rather than advancing solutions and delivering jobs and certainty to Basin communities. 

“We’ve already made great progress and delivered the majority of the gap bridging water against the 2075 gigalitre recovery targets, and a third of the projects that will keep 605 gigalitres available for consumptive use while protecting environmental outcomes.

“Victoria, in particular, has shown leadership in this space, proposing off-farm projects that can keep us moving towards our targets while protecting communities.

“There’s still nearly $4 billion available until 2024 to implement the remainder of the Plan.

“That’s $4 billion to spur economic activity in our regional towns, to generate jobs in the regions, and improve water infrastructure for the future of all Basin communities.

“Communities deserve to see their governments deliver on their commitments – not keep kicking the can down the road.

“Our broader Basin communities have had enough of delays and want to see certainty, stability, and delivery.

“There are mechanisms built into the Basin Plan to determine if we’ve met our goals and we should get on with the job and not pre-empt outcomes that haven’t occurred.”