Infrastructure projects which improve water delivery and create jobs across the Murray-Darling Basin as part of a post COVID-19 stimulus response will be prioritised after today’s Ministerial Council Meeting.
The Council has requested the Basin Officials Committee investigate and identify potential opportunities to invest in these infrastructure projects as a priority.
Ministerial Council also rejected a late push by New South Wales to extend the 2024 Murray-Darling Basin deadline.
“New South Wales unsuccessfully tried to push back the deadline to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan by 2024,” said Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs.
“South Australia categorically rejected this last-minute attempt with the support of other jurisdictions and reaffirmed the need to just get on with the delivery of the Plan.”
Minister Speirs said delivering water infrastructure projects would have significant benefits right across the Murray-Darling Basin.
“Regional communities across the Basin will play an important role in Australia’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Minister Speirs.
“Better infrastructure will deliver significant and ongoing benefits to these regional communities by creating jobs during construction as well as improved water delivery which will increase agricultural productivity and return more water.
“Water efficiency infrastructure projects have a real opportunity to provide economic stimulus when it’s needed most as well as delivering positive environmental outcomes.
“South Australia has led the way when it comes to these sorts of projects and the Riverland is a great example where efficiency measures have resulted in a win-win situation for farmers and the environment.
“Reducing open channel irrigation around the country is a great example of off-farm projects which would mean farmers receive the same amount of water but with more efficient delivery of water to their properties more water can be freed up for the environment.
“Much of Australia has been dealing with crippling drought the past few years but recent rain has improved optimism across the Murray-Darling Basin and we now have a real opportunity to get on with the delivery of the Basin Plan.
“I congratulate Federal Minister for Water Keith Pitt on his leadership and look forward to working with all other Basin jurisdictions to deliver better outcomes right across the Murray-Darling Basin.”