Mud slinging on water issues

Water ministers agree on Murray River delivery issues


Water delivery issues accepted by commonwealth, states.


Water ministers meeting in Brisbane have agreed there are real risks in delivering water in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.

Ministers accepted an independent report, prepared by Victoria and NSW, on Murray-Darling Basin constraints modelling.

The panel, headed by former Murray-Darling Basin Authority board member George Warne, called for an end to predetermined flow rates.

Panel members agreed with the Productivity Commission's Murray-Darling Basin Plan five year-assessment that meeting the 2024 deadline was highly ambitious, if not unrealistic.

NSW and Victoria made it clear there would be a great deal of difficulty in delivering the constraints measures strategy critical to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, however Queensland Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham flagged concerns about funding for water metering.

"During the federal election campaign the Morrison government promised Queensland $12.5 million for water accounting, metering and telemetry systems," Dr Lynham said.

"Seven months later, Queensland farmers have not seen a brass razoo of that $12.5 million.

"Other basin states have received significant investment in metering from the Australian Government and Queensland farmers deserve similar support, particularly during drought."

Queensland has previously agreed to a federal deadline for farmers in the basin to install meters by 2025.

Dr Lynham said if the funds weren't forthcoming, the Morrison government would have to give Queensland farmers flexibility and extend the Basin Plan deadline.

Dr Lynham has since written to federal Water Resources Minister David Littleproud seeking funding to the value of $25 million for transparent online water accounting systems, $21 million for metering and telemetry systems, and $15 million to help manufacturers streamline the accreditation of water meters and drive down meter costs for farmers.

Mr Littleproud said the letter from Dr Lynham did not present a detailed business case for the funding.

"Minister Lynham requested that the original approval for funding announced before the election be adjusted from metering to an online accounting system but couldn't be bothered to put a proposal to us," Mr Littleproud said.

"Queensland farmers have not seen a brass razoo because Minister Lynham and his government hasn't had the ability to put a proper business case together.

"Maybe if the minister focused on outcomes rather than politics, things might get done for Queensland farmers."

The story Mud slinging on water issues first appeared on Queensland Country Life.


From the front page

Sponsored by