Path forward identified in EY report

Media release | 19 January 2018

Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair today welcomed EY’s report into the social and economic impacts of delivering an extra 450 gigalitres of water for the environment under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Blair said the NSW Government first pushed for this report in 2016 because the Basin Plan agreement is clear that environmental water recovery must be socially and economically positive for the broader community.

“The report points to additional off-farm water efficiency programs that could be rolled out in our irrigation schemes with a positive economic impact on regional NSW overall,” Mr Blair said.

“I commend NSW irrigation operators that have already delivered significant infrastructure and technology upgrades to become some of the most water-efficient in the country and recovering 209 gigalitres of water for the environment.

“If there are opportunities for our irrigation operators to become more efficient while boosting productivity overall, then I will back them to attract this investment to regional NSW.”

However, the report highlights knowledge gaps that exist around the impacts of on-farm water efficiency programs and recommends governments engage industry groups and community leaders to find a way forward.

“Clearly we need to approach this part of the Basin Plan with caution and put food and fibre growers in the driver’s seat through genuine engagement, which is why I will continue to speak to community leaders and infrastructure operators about EY’s report and help find a pathway forward to access further investment in improving their operations,” Mr Blair said.

“The NSW Government is committed to delivering the Basin Plan in full and on time, while most importantly reducing uncertainty for business owners and letting our farmers farm.”