LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS
2.39 The committee recommends that the
Murray-Darling Basin Authority develop a concise and non-technical explanation
of the hydrological modelling and assumptions used to develop the 2750 GL/y
return of surface water to the environment, to be made publicly available.
2.58 The committee recommends that the MDBA
specifically include the predicted range of impacts of climate change on water
runoff when implementing the relevant risk management strategies under chapter
4 of the Basin Plan.
2.59 Consistent with Recommendation 20, the
committee recommends that the government develop a clear research strategy on
the future impacts of climate change on water runoff in the Basin. The strategy
should also include a process for integrating the results of the research into
the adaptive management process under the Basin Plan.
2.70 The committee recommends that the MDBA model a
range of possible future intercept scenarios and publish the results so that
each state can better plan for the impacts of the interception on its overall
consumptive water allocation.
2.71 The committee recommends that, in undertaking
its adaptive management approach to the Basin Plan, the Murray Darling Basin
Authority clearly considers, assesses and incorporates all elements that could
impact environmental watering requirements. This includes climate change,
interception activities, coal seam gas mining, surface-groundwater connectivity
and possible negative effects such as over watering caused by increased river
flows. This information should be clearly set out in non-technical language and
be made publicly available in a timely manner.
3.48 The committee recommends that before 2016 the
MDBA undertake a thorough review of the groundwater aspects of the Basin Plan
methodology and the assumptions underpinning the groundwater BDLs and SDLs; and
connectivity of all groundwater and surface water resources to ensure that the
modelling used in the Basin Plan is scientifically sound.
3.49 The committee also recommends that in
conducting this review the MDBA should consult with a range of scientific
experts. To ensure reliability, the final review findings should be peer
reviewed by the CSIRO. To ensure transparency, the results of the review should
be published by the MDBA.
4.21 The committee recommends the MDBA conduct
further research into how effective the works and measures programs are for
delivering environmental outcomes and the cost effectiveness of such projects
in comparison to other forms of water recovery. This research should also include
the socio-economic impacts to irrigation communities of increased levels of
4.22 The committee recommends that the MDBA and SEWPaC
provide ongoing public updates to Basin stakeholders on progress in securing
water savings from environmental works and measures.
4.47 The committee recommends that greater detail
on the socio-economic costs and benefits of any proposed constraints removal be
presented to affected communities and the public in general. Such information
should be publicly updated in a timely manner when changes occur or new
information is obtained by the MDBA and SEWPaC.
4.48 The committee recommends that further
consultation regarding constraints management and the additional 450 GL/y
should remain a high priority for the MDBA and SEWPaC. To ensure consultation
is adequately undertaken, the committee recommends that the MDBA and SEWPaC
develop and publish a strategy that identifies and provides solutions for
previous shortcomings (see chapter seven) in the government's consultation
process for developing the Basin Plan.
5.28 The committee recommends that the government
develop a water trading information and support program aimed at helping
possible "distressed sellers" understand their financial options and
risks relating to water trading.
5.40 The committee recommends that the government
undertakes explicit auditing and reporting of the extent and impact of sleeper
and dozer licences on the Basin Plan.
5.41 The committee recommends this audit be
publicly released and that updated audit information is incorporated into the
MDBA's reporting on the Basin Plan at regular intervals.
6.26 The committee recommends that the MDBA
commission an independent review of the possible effects of using a range of
assumptions of water entitlements types (e.g. high and low reliability) in the
hydrological and socio-economic modelling of the Basin Plan. In the case where
the results for certain water entitlement assumptions show that the objectives
of the plan will be compromised, the MDBA should develop a policy which will
ensure that this arrangement of water entitlements will not be realised.
6.49 The committee recommends that the Australian National
Audit Office (ANAO) review the Nimmie-Caira proposal. To the extent possible
and in collaboration with the NSW Audit Office if necessary, the review should
amongst other things examine the process undertaken by relevant parties for
determining the value of all aspects of the Nimmie-Caira proposal. The review
should also examine any factors that may impact on the value for money for the
government and the tax-payer of the proposal should it proceed. The ANAO should
report on this review prior to the approval of the Nimmie-Caira proposal by the
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
7.40 The committee recommends that the MDBA update
the socio‑economic modelling of the local impacts of the Basin Plan.
There should be a strong focus on the communities likely to be most affected by
the Basin Plan and strategies should be developed to address the impacts. All
such information should be publicly released and presented in a form that is
accessible to stakeholders, local community members, and parliamentarians. This
modelling should also include tabular or graphical data depicting the location
and volumes of buyback on an irrigation district basis.
7.54 The committee recommends that the government
develop a formal process for long-term and integrated engagement with key
stakeholders on the implementation of the final Basin Plan.
7.69 The committee recommends that the MDBA provide
a clear explanation of how 'localism' is to be implemented under the Basin
8.8 The committee recommends that the
government develop and publish a detailed policy for agricultural productivity,
environmental and water resource R&D in the Murray-Darling Basin. This
policy should reflect a greater priority in this area and incorporate the
specific research areas identified in recommendations throughout this report.
8.18 That the Government commission the Australian
Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences to undertake a
cost-benefit analysis of potential water-efficient crops (including non-paddy
rice) in the Murray-Darling Basin.
8.40 The committee recommends that the government
commission research into innovative agricultural soil use and farming practices
that will improve agricultural productivity and water efficiency in the Murray‑Darling
8.49 The committee recommends that the government
prioritise R&D into water infrastructure to meet the needs of farming
communities, agricultural production, and the environmental health of the
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