The federal government has proposed a new piece of legislation, the Water Amendment (Restoring our Rivers) Bill 2023, that proposes several measures to enable the delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
While some of these changes are discrete, others are deeply intertwined with other provisions of the Water Act. This submission provides suggestions for specific provisions, broader changes, policy settings and program commitments which support the aims of the amendment to implement the Basin Plan in full. This includes mechanisms to:
- Return water rights to Traditional Owners, enabling each Nation to exercise their custodial responsibilities to care for the river system.
- Ensure timely and reliable water recovery, recognising the slow progress acquiring water over the past decade and the opaque systems currently used to track progress.
- Realise the benefits of water recovered, relaxing constraints on water delivery that keep water from supporting wetlands.
- Phase out failed experiments, shelving controversial offset programs which claim to substitute flowing water.
- Fund community adaptation, addressing economic issues thoughtfully and directly.
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