Terms of Reference

Management of the Murray-Darling Basin

Terms of Reference

The management of the Murray-Darling Basin, and the development and implementation of the Basin Plan, with particular reference to:

(a) the implications for agriculture and food production and the environment;

(b) the social and economic impacts of changes proposed in the Basin;

(c) the impact on sustainable productivity and on the viability of the Basin;

(d) the opportunities for a national reconfiguration of rural and regional Australia and its agricultural resources against the background of the Basin Plan and the science of the future;

(e) the extent to which options for more efficient water use can be found and the implications of more efficient water use, mining and gas extraction on the aquifer and its contribution to run off and water flow;

(f) the opportunities for producing more food by using less water with smarter farming and plant technology;

(g) the national implications of foreign ownership, including:  
                (i) corporate and sovereign takeover of agriculture land and water, and  
                (ii) water speculators;

(h) means to achieve sustainable diversion limits in a way that recognises production efficiency;

(i) options for all water savings including use of alternative basins; and

(j) any other related matters.

Inquiry into management of the Murray Darling Basin – impact of mining coal seam gas

The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee, as part of its inquiry into management of the Murray Darling Basin, is examining the impact of mining coal seam gas on the management of the basin.

The committee will examine:
The economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:
• the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
• the property rights and values of landholders;
• the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia's food task;
• the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
• other related matters including health impacts.  

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone:+61 2 6277 3511
Fax:+61 2 6277 5811