Compliance check-up in Barwon-Darling catchment, others across Murray-Darling Basin, as part of review

Photo: Simon Nicol
Photo: Simon Nicol

THE Barwon-Darling and other catchments across the Murray-Darling Basin have been the subject of field visits as part of a compliance review.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority spokesman Russell James said the MDBA’s review would consider current state laws and administration of compliance across the basin.

“We have wasted no time in getting this review under way,” he said.

“In recent weeks we have been in the Riverland, Murrumbidgee, Barwon-Darling, Goulburn-Murray and Lower Balonne to take a closer look at how compliance is working on the ground,” Mr James said.

The MDBA compliance review independent panel and MDBA officers made the visits.

“During these field trips we have met with more than 45 representatives from regional communities, community groups, property owners and irrigators, former public servants, environmental groups and staff from various commonwealth, state and local government agencies,” Mr James said.

“We have also held six targeted roundtable meetings with water users and stakeholder groups around the basin, attended by over 80 people.

“These field trips form an essential part of the review process – seeing compliance operations in action, and hearing from local farmers and stakeholders, will help us identify impediments to compliance and ways to strengthen approaches.

“It is vital that everyone can have trust in the basin plan and the systems for its successful implementation, so we are working hard to ensure that these systems are in place to deliver it.”

Mr James said people could also have their say by completing a survey at getinvolved.mdba.gov.au

The MDBA’s review is supported by an independent expert panel, which will provide a separate report on the review itself to basin ministers.

This will include findings on the authority’s own role in compliance and enforcement practices, and ways in which these can be improved.

The MDBA and panel reports will be provided to the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council by November 24, then to the Council of Australian Governments.