Water reform delay draws state criticism
South Australia’s Water Minister Paul Caica has criticised the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) decision to delay the release of its draft plan.
The draft plan, which has been plagued by numerous delays, has had its release date pushed back to the middle of October, two months after its original release date. The MDBA said it made the decision to delay after meetings with state ministers who suggested that more time be given to work out the water use plan.
However, Mr Caica said he did not believe that a delay is necessary.
"We think all the information that they have available to them at this point in time is enough to get on with the business and the business is restoring the Murray-Darling Basin to an appropriate level of sustainable health."
The chairman of the MDBA Craig Knowles said that following extensive discussions with Basin Governments, the Authority believes there are ‘broader issues’ that need to be resolved before the plan is released.
“We will continue to work with the states and territories to get the work done as quickly as possible. We're aiming to finish the work by mid-October and will put out the draft as soon as we can after that. So that this doesn't affect the holiday season, we are allowing a further four weeks for consultation, providing a minimum of 20 weeks for public comment on the plan,” Mr Knowles said.
The decision to delay the draft report comes after debate on the amount of water required for environmental flows, with the Federal Government implying it will require at least 3000 gigalitres per year while maintaining a flow nine years out of 10.