The Australian Greens welcome this comprehensive report from the
committee. We have considerable concerns about the implementation of the Basin
Plan and feel these concerns are broadly represented.
While we support the recommendations of the inquiry some of our concerns
are not reflected.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is intended to limit the extraction of
water to a Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL).
There is insufficient evidence to give any confidence to water markets
that the new floodplain harvesting policies and issuing of licences have not
increased the capture of water off the floodplain since the 1993-94 level of
development or even the 2008-09 level of development.
Allegations of increased floodplain harvesting are difficult to uphold
they have not been measured historically;
the estimates in BDL and SDL models are known to be significantly
the records for on farm storages and levee banks are sparse and
often rely on self-reporting; and
the agencies responsible for approving works on the floodplain
are not water agencies and don’t have hydrological expertise.
The Australian Greens recommend that a register of floodplain works,
with works approvals and storage sizes be published.
Transparency and accountability
The SDL hydrological model will become the compliance tool to ensure
that annual extractions are within the legal limit.
There is a lack of transparency around how the model is made and
assessed, which diminishes the market confidence in the compliance with the
The Australian Greens recommend that the SDL compliance process is
revised for transparency and accountability and to include an independent
accreditation of the SDL model which is published, and an independent assessment of the annual SDL compliance process.
of corruption and water theft
The cross-jurisdictional nature of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and
the involvement of many different government agencies and politicians means
that the oversight and investigative abilities of any one monitoring or law
enforcement agency may be inadequate to deal with allegations of corruption and
water theft. A National Integrity Commission could address some of these
The Australian Greens recommend that the federal government create an independent, broad‑based public sector anti‑corruption commission for the Commonwealth.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Senator for South Australia
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