MDBA hands down its recommendation

TALKS: Irrigators from the Lower Balonne have been in discussions about the impacts of a potentially revised Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
TALKS: Irrigators from the Lower Balonne have been in discussions about the impacts of a potentially revised Murray-Darling Basin Plan. David Barwell

AFTER years of debate and discussion, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has announced it is recommending the water recovery target for the Northern Basin be reduced from 390 gigalitres to 320GL.

Chief Executive of the MDBA Phillip Glyde said the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has written to Ministerial Council members to recommend a variety of amendments to the Basin Plan.

"After four years of extensive research and consultation, I'm confident these changes to the Basin Plan strike the right balance and will deliver a healthy and productive river system,” Mr Glyde said.

While Mr Glyde said research confirmed that remaining at 390GL recovery would have harmful social and economic outcomes for some communities, Balonne Shire Deputy Mayor Fiona Gaske said there is still a long way to go, even at the reduced recovery target.

"While it is encouraging that recommendations to reduce the target have been made, it is still not certain what form the reduction will take,” Cr Gaske said.

"This is important, because, if in fact the recovery is to be done through by-backs it will mean more socio-economic pain for communities in the shire.”

Mrs Gaske also said the conversation must now focus on the future.

"Structural adjustment needs to feature in conversations at all levels of government over the coming months so that we can move forward,” she said.

The recommendations are now with the Ministerial Council members for response, and then a final recommendation will be delivered to the Australian Government Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources before going through parliament.

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