The National Irrigators’ Council has urged ministers to take a balanced and constructive approach to the basin water ministers meeting in Albury on December 19.
‘‘Recent media coverage on the basin has tended to focus on an overly negative view of progress,’’ NIC chief executive officer Steve Whan said.
‘‘It is a view not supported by the evidence coming out of environmental observations and the independent authorities implementing the plan.
‘‘Environmental reports from the MDBA (Murray-Darling Basin Authority), fish researchers and even the Wentworth Group report show that environmental watering events are having a positive result.
‘‘We need to recognise, though, that we are five years in to the 12-year implementation of the plan and environmental recovery will take many years.
‘‘That means it is important now to stay the course and reiterate support for the steps which have always been a part of the plan, including implementation of the northern basin review and the SDL (sustainable diversion limits) adjustment measures.
‘‘Irrigators recognise that recent criticism of compliance needs strong action. NIC unequivocally supports strong compliance regimes.
‘‘Water is a valuable asset and no-one condones theft. Compliance will always be a priority. In the meantime, the exaggerated attempts to portray irrigators as bad guys should not be allowed to derail important steps toward achieving the plan.
‘‘Ministers have the opportunity to ensure that they put the basin plan back on track by endorsing the measures that they themselves have been a part of developing."