Water

Sheed: review ‘writes off’ GMID

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January 30, 2018

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said the conclusions of a review of efficiency measures in the Murray-Darling Basin were disappointing and were based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the basin plan legislation.

The latest report on water savings measures for the Murray-Darling Basin has been described as a ‘‘lightweight report’’ which raised more questions than it answered.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said the conclusions of a review of efficiency measures in the Murray-Darling Basin were disappointing and were based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the basin plan legislation.

Ms Sheed said the review completed by consultancy firm Ernst & Young for the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council was little more than a surface-level assessment based on inaccurate data assumptions.

‘‘Not only have the potential water savings been inflated, the cost of on-farm efficiency measures and the market price of high-reliability water shares have been considerably underestimated and no costing has been provided for any of the proposed regional development initiatives for communities.’’

Ms Sheed said she was disappointed that the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District, which is broadly acknowledged as one of the hotspots of negative outcomes arising from the basin plan, was not considered in the report as being worthy of a case study with a targeted analysis of the impacts of future water removal.

‘‘We have been telling anyone who will listen for some time now that the GMID is at a tipping point — it has been struggling under the strain of the basin plan and will not be able to withstand the removal of any further water,’’ Ms Sheed said.

‘‘There has clearly been an overriding imperative in the preparation of this report to find the extra 450Gl of water at all costs, effectively writing the GMID off as an unfortunate loser who could be placated with funding for non-related community and industry needs.

‘‘That is not acceptable and represents a complete disregard for the plan itself which states the additional 450Gl of ‘up-water’ cannot be recovered if there are negative social or economic impacts.’’

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