Majority Support for water buybacks across Basin States, Party Lines and Regional Australia

New research released by The Australia Institute shows strong public support for changes to Murray Darling Basin environmental and water rules.
by Kate McBride

Under the Restoring our Rivers Bill 2023, changes proposed by the Government include a return to water buybacks, which had been capped by the previous Liberal-National Government in favour of subsidies for water-saving projects.

The Australia Institute has found that the use of buybacks, additional water recovery to compensate for Basin Plan delays and reducing water extraction in rivers where the Murray Cod are at risk of extinction enjoy widespread popular support.

Key Findings:

  • Two in three Australians (66%) support the reintroduction of voluntary water buybacks, with only 10% opposed, including:
    • A majority of residents in Basin States – NSW (68%), SA (65%), Queensland (64%) and Victoria (61%).
    • Support across voting intention – Labor (71%), Greens (71%) and Coalition (65%) voters.
    • Support is similar between metro (67%) and regional (63%) residents.
  • Three in five Australians (61%) agree that additional water should be returned to the river to compensate for Basin Plan delays, while 10% disagree.
    • Support in Basin states – SA (67%), NSW (64%), Victoria (59%) and Queensland (58%).
    • Support from both metro (63%) and regional (58%) residents.

Full report