The farmers and communities of the Murray Darling Basin look to the week ahead with trepidation with the Federal Senate set to debate a Greens motion, that if successful threatens to compromise the Plan as Australians know it.
In line with the provisions of the Plan, state governments in the southern basin catchment have developed 37 projects that will achieve the same environmental outcomes, as would be achieved if the recommended 605GL was returned as environmental flows.
The projects have been independently reviewed and endorsed by the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
Despite the objective, scientific evidence, the Greens, led by water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, will introduce a disallowance motion to the block the 605GL SDL measures.
The National Farmers’ Federation are part of a coalition of farm bodies, in calling on Senators to vote the motion down.
NFF President Fiona Simson said the Murray Darling Basin Plan was a historic and complex document.
“Processes such as the measures for the SDL to be achieved through novel efficiency measures go to the heart of the Plan.
Ms Simson said until recently the Plan had enjoyed bi-partisan support across states and in the Federal Parliament and this had enabled tremendous results.
“Already 77% of the original water recovery target of the Murray Darling Basin Plan has been recovered.
“The Murray Darling Basin Authority's 2017 evaluation has shown the recovered water is being put to good use, with over 750 environmental watering events in the past four years.
Ms Simson said a calm and considered bi-partisan approach and opposition to the disallowance motion was the only responsible outcome.
“The Basin plan was a historic compromise, no stakeholders, including farmers, got all they wanted nor did they lose all they sought to protect."
“Since then everybody has been working within the confines of agreement.
“Farmers, in particular have planned their businesses, on the stipulations imposed by the Plan.”
“Next week, Federal Senators have a choice.
“They can vote against the Greens’ disallowance motion and allow the Plan to be implemented and to continue to deliver for the environment, farmers and communities or uphold the Greens’ motion and unleash world of uncertainty for all Basin stakeholders,” Ms Simson said.