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Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission. This submission is informed by research through The Australia Institute and as a former employee of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). I was employed by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and its predecessor, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission from 2005
Since allegations of large-scale water theft were aired on Four Corners in 2017, a flood of media reports have shown that the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not being well implemented: agency cover ups, political and regulatory capture, agencies with cultures of non-compliance, dodgy water deals, alleged fraud and unlawful amendments. [READ FULL REPORT]
The Australia Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the Long-Term Diversion Limit Extraction (LTDLE) factors. LTDLEs are required to determine how much water has been recovered to meet the government’s water recovery target under the Murray-Darling Basin reforms. LTDLE factors need to be resolved to bring certainty to communities and water licence
Proposed changes to the Water Act reduce accountability, parliamentary oversight and facilitate changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan that are based on political convenience rather than science. The bill should not be passed.
Promotion of large-scale irrigation in the West Kimberley ignores the lessons of the East Kimberley. Census data shows that despite huge public subsidy in Ord irrigation, the major employers in both regions are health, education and services. Tourism, carbon farming, renewable energy and high-value niche agriculture are also avenues of potential development.Discussion paper
A proposed amendment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan would use ‘supply measures’ to change the Sustainable Diversion Limits and increase water use by irrigation. The proposed supply measures are inconsistent with the Basin Plan and likely to be unlawful.
The Australian Government bought 29 gigalitres of water for $80m in the Condamine-Balonne valley. The vendors originally insisted on $2,200 per megalitre. But after negotiation, the Government paid a higher price – $2,745 per megalitre. Worse, the water has no legal status outside the farm gate and shouldn’t be counted towards the water recovery target.
The Minister for Water, Barnaby Joyce approved the $17m purchase of water in the Warrego valley after criticising the Labor government for the same thing, but at less than half the price. This was a deal that required amendments to the Basin Plan to later adjust Basin Plan limits between valleys, outside the parliamentary process.
The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is proposing a major amendment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan based on its Northern Basin Review,1 conducted over four years. The amendment would reduce the water recovery targets for the Northern Basin from 390 GL to 320 GL per year, a reduction of 70 GL. This amendment is
New research released today by The Australia Institute shows that estimates of impacts on South Australia from proposed changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan have been changed multiple times by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). These changes appear to be based more on political convenience than best available science. “Initial versions of the
Controversy has raged around Murray Darling Basin water issues since Four Corners aired allegations of large-scale water theft and the ability for irrigators to legally extract water purchased for the environment from the Barwon-Darling River. South Australia announced a Royal Commission in response to findings from multiple independent reviews, which highlighted serious issues with the implementation of
A new report, released today by The Australia Institute, questions using averages to represent flows in the Barwon-Darling and challenges the NSW Water Minister’s claims about how much water is going into maintain river health. Two massive flood years, 1950 and 1956 account for 21% of all of the water flows since 1944. These two
New analysis released by The Australia Institute today estimates that hidden subsidies from the Queensland Government to the coal mining industry, in the form of the value of groundwater accessed for free, represent at least $100M in value for the Galilee Basin coal mines alone. Report author Rod Campbell, who is the Director of Research
This paper looks back at the achievements and failures of Landcare after ten years. The authors put forward a set of proposals for the future that goes much further than anything previously suggested.
While there is firm public support for stronger environmental protection, action on these issues in the past has been seriously constrained by the belief by governments that protecting the environment will have large economic costs. Ecological tax reform shows this need not be the case by arguing that carefully devised measures can both protect the
This paper considers the impacts of logging in forests on the quantity and quality of water available for users. It also considers the economic implications of the effect of logging on water yields and water quality and the lessons for policy makers.