Victorian Water minister Lisa Neville and New South Wales Regional Water minister Niall Blair have set up the panel, to review the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) offset mechanism.
Ms Neville said she would continue to stand up to get the best for Victoria.
“Working together will get us the best result,” Ms Neville said.
“This is about two states putting borders aside and working together to get the best result for the community.
“This expert panel will provide oversight and certainty for communities that the Plan is working in the best interests of farmers and the environment.”
Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) president David Jochinke said his organisation was optimistic the review would help ensure the Basin Plan deliver environmental benefits, without having an impact on communities.
“We know how important water is to our irrigation communities and it’s vital that we do everything that we can to protect this important asset,” Mr Jochinke said.
“A ‘just-add-water’ approach to tackling environmental management in the Basin would have been simply unacceptable.
“We argued strongly for engineering and solutions to contribute to the water recovery targets of the Basin Plan.
Mr Jochinke said the farmer group was at the forefront of discussions with the Murray Darling Basin Authority to introduce an SDL adjustment mechanism in the first place.
“We always said the SDL adjustment mechanism needed to work to maximise the environmental benefits, so that we can drive and provide safeguards to our irrigation industries,” he said.
Mr Blair said the issue was above politics.
“To continue to get the best deal possible for NSW under the Basin Plan we need to keep water where it is needed most – in our regional communities, producing the food and fibre of this great state.
“This is a very experienced panel that will provide governments with an assessment of the adjustment methodology to enable more informed decision making about environmental benefits and ensure operational matters are fully considered.”
The panel will report to Ministers in mid-March and members include:
Dr Don Blackmore AM – 40 years of experience in water and natural resources management including a 15 year role as the Chief Executive of the Murray Darling Basin Commission until his retirement in 2004.
Brett Tucker – broad range of experience in water resource management and agriculture in a career spanning 25 years.
Chris Arnott – has worked across the Murray Darling Basin since 1994 and led the development of the first national snapshot of environmental water in the Australian Environmental Water Management Report 2010.
Professor Peter Davies AM – aquatic environmental scientist with 35 years’ experience in aquatic environmental issues nationwide and internationally.