Basin Plan framework ignores enviro and community outcomes

We’ve slammed the Albanese Government’s draft framework to recover 450GL of additional water under the Murray Darling Basin Plan, saying it ignores impacts to Victorian farming communities and natural environments.

VFF Water Council Chair Andrew Leahy said the framework provided further proof that the Albanese Government was disinterested in the impact of water recovery on Victoria.

“Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek have proven they don’t care about Victorian farming communities and environment. We are collateral damage in their tick-a-box exercise to deliver an arbitrary number in water recovery with no outcomes attached to it.”

“They don’t care how much water they take, whether it can be delivered or where it’ll impact.”

Our invitation to Minister Plibersek inviting her to visit the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears,” Mr Leahy said.

Mr Leahy said the draft framework ignores environmental impacts on Victoria with its focus on delivering water to two Ramsar wetlands in South Australia, rather than across the 16 Basin sites.

“There are five international Ramsar sites in Victoria, yet there is no focus on ensuring environmental outcomes for these wetlands. Trying to push more water down to South Australia is causing serious environmental damage through erosion along Murray and Goulburn Rivers.”

“The framework does not tell us what environmental outcomes the extra water is hoping to achieve, where they will be achieved and how much water will be required at each site. It’s not based on best available science and is designed to avoid public scrutiny and accountability.”

Mr Leahy said that claims the framework is focussed on accountability, transparency, integrity and being ethical were completely hollow.

“The Albanese Government continues to avoid any accountability for listening and responding to affected communities. Without any evidence, Tanya Plibersek has consistently rejected detailed reports documenting the adverse impacts of water buybacks. It’s on this basis that she is wasting taxpayer funds on an advertising campaign of falsehoods about the health of the Basin.”  

“There is nothing ethical or transparent about the way the Albanese Government is treating Victoria in response to our refusal to accept water buybacks.”

“Instead, Victoria continues to work constructively to deliver environmental water, manage the Living Murray sites, comply with sustainable diversion limits and deliver water to South Australia in accordance with the long-standing Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.”

The VFF’s submission to the draft framework can be accessed at