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Australia Water wars escalate as Victoria slams Murray-Darling power shift

17:51  09 december  2019
17:51  09 december  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

Scrapping the Murray-Darling Basin Plan risks a worse outcome for farmers

  Scrapping the Murray-Darling Basin Plan risks a worse outcome for farmers The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has caused enormous economic and social upheaval across southern Australia, but scrapping it risks a worse outcome for farmers. Clint Jasper explainsThe $13 billion plan to remove water from farmers and return it to the environment has never been popular in southern New South Wales, which is home for the vast majority of the protesters.

The Murray - Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is the principal government agency in charge of managing the Murray - Darling basin in an integrated and sustainable manner. ^ "VFF Declares War !: Stop the MDBA plundering". Victorian Farmers Federation. "Windsor report slams Murray - Darling authority". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Murray - Darling Basin Plan - Environment Victoria .

Galen works with teams and organizations to create a profound shift in how teams and leaders communicate and show up in business. His unique, interactive keynotes and team workshops teach how to apply the improv concept of “Yes, And” to drive an exceptional team culture of high-level

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Water Minister Lisa Neville has opposed any plan to take authority from Victoria.© Penny Stephens Water Minister Lisa Neville has opposed any plan to take authority from Victoria.

The Andrews government has raised serious concerns about handing over powers to the Murray-Darling inspector-general and former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty.

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has outlined her criticism of the Morrison government's plan to hand powers to Mr Keelty in a letter to federal Water Resources Minister David Littleproud.

It comes before a meeting of ministers due on Tuesday next week.

Ms Neville's criticisms follow similar objections that NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey raised in a sensitive document prepared for cabinet, which warned the state would not agree to hand power to Mr Keelty if it resulted in "duplication of compliance and enforcement activities".

'You're useless': Angry farmer confronts Deputy Prime Minister with a furious spray over the Government's handling of the Murray-Darling river system

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Murray Darling is a wine region and Australian Geographical Indication which spans the Murray River and its confluence with the Darling River in northwestern Victoria and southwestern New South Wales. It was registered as a protected name on 16 June 1997.

Lower Murray Water will join 12 other leading Victorian water corporations in a new energy joint venture that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain affordable water bills for customers.

Mr Littleproud said last week he had asked interim inspector-general Mr Keelty to conduct an inquiry into management of the water-sharing agreement after NSW threatened to pull out of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, amid concerns too much water was being withheld from irrigators and towns. Ms Neville has written to Mr Littleproud saying she, too, has objections.

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Victoria and NSW have been putting a lot of effort into designing ‘supply’ measures that are intended to provide equivalent environmental outcomes using less water . These projects include environmental works and measures (channels and regulators) that deliver water to key environmental assets such

River Murray operations The Murray – Darling Basin Authority operates the River Murray on behalf of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. River recreation We take account of recreational activities when making decisions on releases and water targets. Weekly reports Summary of

Mick Keelty looking at the camera: Former federal police chief Mick Keelty is the interim Murray-Darling inspector-general.© Alex Ellinghausen / Fairfax Former federal police chief Mick Keelty is the interim Murray-Darling inspector-general.

"I have serious concerns about any connection to the water-sharing arrangements in the Murray-Darling Basin agreement, the short timeline, and the suitability of a compliance and enforcement expert to lead what is described as a hydrological exercise," said the letter, sent last Thursday.

"I have written to the inspector-general about our communities' concerns and expectations that his focus be on floodplain harvesting, allocation, metering, monitoring of large-scale individual water use and licensing arrangements in the Northern Basin.

"I have concerns that the investigation described in your letter won't deal with these longstanding issues ... I will not support any proposal which compromises Victorian entitlements, and do not support renegotiating the agreement."

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River Murray operations The Murray – Darling Basin Authority operates the River Murray on behalf of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. River recreation We take account of recreational activities when making decisions on releases and water targets. Weekly reports Summary of

The Murray – Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. It covers one million square kilometres of south-eastern Australia, across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Keelty's appointment in August as Murray-Darling inspector-general, a position that will require Commonwealth legislation, came after continued allegations of water theft from the river system.

On Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported NSW's Berejiklian government was considering a number of proposals to take to the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting next week, including withholding agreement to transfer compliance and enforcement powers to Mr Keelty.

While Ms Pavey declined to comment on the cabinet submission, a spokesman said NSW was "yet to see what powers the inspector-general is asking for".

Richard Kingsford, the director of University of NSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science, said there was a "real problem" of "warring states, with upstream states dictating to downstream states what's needed".

"We need a neutral umpire here and it's very important because we haven't really had that," Professor Kingsford said on Sunday. "NSW is doing quite a lot on the compliance front, but I do think it's important that an inspector-general can tell other states what a good job NSW is doing.

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Water in the Murray – Darling Basin can be bought and sold, either permanently or temporarily. This water is traded on markets – within catchments River Murray operations The Murray – Darling Basin Authority operates the River Murray on behalf of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Coalition orders Murray - Darling review after allegations of water theft. It has now come to light that Blair gazetted a Barwon-Darling valley floodplain management plan which gives him power to approve flood works built illegally even if they do not comply with requirements prior to the plan.

"It's going to be more believable from a neutral party."

Mr Littleproud declined to comment.

Ms Neville said yesterday: "We support the establishment of the Office of the Inspector-General but have concerns that his focus is in the wrong place."

"There has been a lot of concern about issues in the Northern Basin and the IG should be looking into any wrong-doing there, rather than this review of water sharing arrangements, which seems to have come out of nowhere," she said on Monday.

Ms Pavey and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro are pushing to reopen negotiations over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, threatening to pull out of the deal unless the state is allowed to use 450 gigalitres that it had already agreed to set aside for environmental flows.

Ms Neville's letter to Mr Littleproud makes it clear Victoria will oppose the move at the meeting next week.

"Any reopening of the agreement would penalise Victorian water users for the failure of the other basin jurisdictions to implement similar reforms to increase the resilience of their systems to low flows and destabilise the integrity of the water market," she wrote.

Water ministers meet to debate future of Murray-Darling Basin Plan today .
After weeks of jostling, state water ministers will meet today to make some big decisions about the future of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.The meeting comes as severe drought grips the basin, with warnings this summer could see a repeat of the shocking fish kills in the Lower Darling in early 2019.

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