Councils urge more haste, less speed on 605GL

Published on 10 October 2019

Councils urge more haste, less speed on 605GL

The Murray River Group of Councils is urging the Murray Darling Basin Authority and Basin Ministers to ensure that great care is taken over the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) supply projects.

“The importance of the 605-gigalitre offsets cannot be overstated. If these projects fail to deliver the environmental outcomes, then the risk is that water will have to be bought in the Southern Basin to cover the shortfall,” Murray River Group of Council Chair, Cr Lorraine Learmonth said.

“We know the catastrophic impact of buy-backs on our communities, particularly in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, where any further water recovery would be disastrous. It would lead to system wide collapse and end with the wastage of $2 billion of modernisation investment, not to mention the social impact on farmers who will be left without a livelihood.”

The Murray River Group of Councils is concerned that funding for the detailed business cases for the SDLAM projects has only recently started to flow. With the 2024 deadline looming, it is a very real risk that some of these projects will not be completed in time.

“MRGC is calling on Basin Ministers to take a prudent and practical approach to intervene now to ensure funding and support is available to the States to properly develop and implement the projects and, on a case by case basis, to take a flexible approach to the deadline if necessary,” Cr Learmonth said.

The Murray River Group of Councils comprises six councils in northern Victoria, Mildura and Swan Hill Rural City Councils and Loddon, Gannawarra, Campaspe and Moira Shires.