Basin plan implementation would be disrupted if MDBA splits, authority says

By Rodney Woods

Despite calls from politicians and farmers for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to disband, the authority believes splitting up its responsibilities would disrupt the Murray-Darling Basin Plan's implementation.

Recently, Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum told Federal Parliament that breaking up the MDBA was essential, while Victorian Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan also called for it in response to the independent Lower Lakes review.

A Productivity Commission report last year also called for the MDBA to split up.

Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar said it was time for politicians to act.

“Everyone from the grass-roots to the Productivity Commission, to federal and state politicians can see the problems that exist with the MDBA,” Mrs Scoullar said.

“For several years we have been calling for the MDBA to be a truly independent organisation, but this has all fallen on deaf ears.

“It refuses to adequately accept the damage the failing basin plan is causing to our communities, or to recommend ways this can be rectified.

“We were promised a flexible and adaptive basin plan, but this has not eventuated under the MDBA’s watch.

“It is past time for change; we need the plan fixed and our communities protected.”

An authority spokesperson said the structure of the MDBA was fit for purpose and provided for all the checks and balances required in an organisation with diverse technical and policy responsibilities.

“Any change would risk timely implementation of the basin plan, which is a key element of much needed water reform in the basin.”