Ms Sheed said the report would provide a level of comfort and more detailed knowledge about the technical foundations, for moving forward on environmental offset projects. The expert panel was established by Victorian Water minister Lisa Neville and New South Wales Regional Water minister, Niall Blair, in February.
“When the expert panel was announced, both ministers argued that there was a lack of transparency around the assumptions that sit at the heart of the mechanism,” Ms Sheed said. “The panel reported back to the Ministers in mid-March, yet the results of the review have still not been made publicly available.”
The report was commissioned to provide advice to the ministers about the technical foundations of the Basin plan’s SDL adjustment mechanism.
Ms Sheed said the expert panel report had been gathering dust for months, while communities were struggling. “Everyone is behaving as if recovery of the additional 450GL of water from the consumptive pool is a given, despite evidence of such negative impacts on our regions,” Ms Sheed said.
“Given that the report was commissioned to ensure a level of transparency it is now incumbent upon both ministers to jointly release the report immediately.
“There are already multiple inquiries and investigations underway into the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and with trust in the system at an all-time low, we need to have all the information on the table. “While some parties may not want to release the data - given the controversy surrounding some of our Northern neighbours - that’s far from a valid reason for keeping us in the dark. We can only wonder what they might be trying to hide.”
The Victorian Government was contacted for comment.