Federal Minister for Water, Tony Burke, has announced that his office will continue to work closely with the Murray Darling Basin Authority in releasing its final plan following an agreement with all Basin States.


Mr Burke’s announcement comes after South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and NSW reached consensus on the final details of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.


“This latest agreed document gets us closer still to a genuine consensus position to reform of the Murray-Darling Basin,” Mr Burke said.


“This reform is all about delivering a healthy working basin for generations to come.


“While the Act would allow me move to the next stage where I have unilateral legal powers to direct changes, I have decided to continue to seek the final elements of a genuine consensus position over the coming weeks.


“Consensus has failed for a century so I don't rule out using these legal powers in the future.


“But if for the sake of a few more weeks we can get an agreed outcome, then I believe it's worth the continued effort.


“This additional consultation with the states does not in any way compromise my determination to have a plan in place this year.”


Mr Burke said there is strong support for a mechanism which allows the volume of held water to vary within limits in circumstances where water can be used more efficiently, whether that be environmental water or irrigation water.


“This puts the focus squarely on outcomes rather than volume,” he said.


"While every jurisdiction is actively engaged in finding ways to maximise environmental outcomes while minimising any negative impact on the communities, I don't want to stop that conversation short."