Friday is a crucial day for the Murray-Darling Basin.
Despite the improved water allocations and seasonal outlook this year, the future for irrigators in the Southern Basin remains on a knife-edge due to the continued uncertainty caused by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
On Friday, all Basin state and Commonwealth water ministers will gather to discuss the MDBP - a plan that for the past 12 years has fueled uncertainty among farmers and regional communities.
Numerous independent reports have highlighted problems with the plan.
The 'Independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Basin' (Sefton) report highlighted the negative impacts the plan is having on communities.
The Productivity Commission and the Water for the Environment Special Account review state the 2024 deadline is not possible.
The Independent Review of Lower Lakes Science suggests MDBP assumptions will be irrelevant, given rising sea levels over the barrages and reduced inflows as a result of climate change.
A responsible Commonwealth government would respond to these reports by amending the plan.
We can not let the Commonwealth and Basin state ministers ignore the need for change, hoping our problems go away.
Kicking issues down the road until 2024, hoping things may improve - or just leaving it for someone else to fix - is simply unacceptable.
The Victorian Farmers Federation is urging ministers at Friday's Ministerial Council to seriously consider the implications of their independent reports and respond to the serious flaws in the MDBP identified by these reviews.
The Basin Plan is a legally enforceable document and it must be changed to fix the problems that have been identified.
Farmers and rural communities are sick of hollow media releases and empty promises.
We have seen Water Minister Keith Pitt's own department undermine his promise to not recover water from irrigators by announcing six on-farm projects for public consultation last week.
This week, the Commonwealth and Basin state ministers must agree that the Basin Plan has to be amended to take the 450 gigalitres off the table, extend the 2024 deadline, address the serious socio-economic costs and focus on environmental outcomes - rather than simplistically clawing back water for the environment.