Murray–Darling Basin efficiency measures — additional criteria for projects

Latest outcomes from the Ministerial Council meeting on 14 December 2018

On 14 December 2018 the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council agreed to the additional criteria for the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program.

Consultation

We recently asked for your feedback on additional criteria for water saving projects under the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program. This is what you told us.

How you had your say

We engaged Seftons to seek feedback from farmers, communities and governments across the Murray-Darling Basin.

You shared your ideas through:

  • an online survey
  • a public webinar
  • regional meetings.

Who participated

Over 600 people participated in the consultation.

Online

Our survey and webinar helped us to hear from people we couldn’t meet face-to-face.

  • Over 50 people responded through our online survey or provided submissions.
  • 48 people joined our public webinar from 31 locations.

In person

505 people came to our public meetings. We held 19 meetings in 17 locations across the Murray-Darling Basin:

  • Mildura, VIC
  • Swan Hill, VIC
  • Kerang, VIC
  • Echuca, VIC
  • Shepparton, VIC
  • Toowoomba, QLD
  • St George, QLD
  • Moree, NSW
  • Dubbo, NSW
  • Forbes, NSW
  • Griffith, NSW
  • Deniliquin, NSW
  • Renmark, SA
  • Murray Bridge, SA
  • Mildura, VIC
  • Swan Hill, VIC
  • Balranald, NSW
  • Rochester, VIC
  • Cohuna, VIC

What you said

Seftons has now delivered their final consultation report. The report encompasses feedback received through the public meetings, webinar, online submissions and surveys. The independent report and advice on additional criteria were considered by Basin water ministers in Melbourne on 14 December.

Download the consultation report PDF (8.4 MB).

This document was not prepared by us and does not meet accessibility requirements.

Latest outcomes from the Ministerial Council meeting on 14 December 2018

On 14 December 2018 the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council agreed to the additional criteria for the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program.

Consultation

We recently asked for your feedback on additional criteria for water saving projects under the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program. This is what you told us.

How you had your say

We engaged Seftons to seek feedback from farmers, communities and governments across the Murray-Darling Basin.

You shared your ideas through:

  • an online survey
  • a public webinar
  • regional meetings.

Who participated

Over 600 people participated in the consultation.

Online

Our survey and webinar helped us to hear from people we couldn’t meet face-to-face.

  • Over 50 people responded through our online survey or provided submissions.
  • 48 people joined our public webinar from 31 locations.

In person

505 people came to our public meetings. We held 19 meetings in 17 locations across the Murray-Darling Basin:

  • Mildura, VIC
  • Swan Hill, VIC
  • Kerang, VIC
  • Echuca, VIC
  • Shepparton, VIC
  • Toowoomba, QLD
  • St George, QLD
  • Moree, NSW
  • Dubbo, NSW
  • Forbes, NSW
  • Griffith, NSW
  • Deniliquin, NSW
  • Renmark, SA
  • Murray Bridge, SA
  • Mildura, VIC
  • Swan Hill, VIC
  • Balranald, NSW
  • Rochester, VIC
  • Cohuna, VIC

What you said

Seftons has now delivered their final consultation report. The report encompasses feedback received through the public meetings, webinar, online submissions and surveys. The independent report and advice on additional criteria were considered by Basin water ministers in Melbourne on 14 December.

Download the consultation report PDF (8.4 MB).

This document was not prepared by us and does not meet accessibility requirements.

  • Final public meeting 28 November

    6 months ago

    A meeting will be held at Cohuna Golf Club, Weymouths Road, Cohuna at 12.30pm on Wednesday 28 November to discuss the water efficiency measures program with members of the Victorian Farmers Federation and other interested people from the region.

    To register your attendance please email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au and include your name.

    A meeting will be held at Cohuna Golf Club, Weymouths Road, Cohuna at 12.30pm on Wednesday 28 November to discuss the water efficiency measures program with members of the Victorian Farmers Federation and other interested people from the region.

    To register your attendance please email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au and include your name.

  • Communique week 4

    6 months ago

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 4

    The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources returned to Victoria and New South Wales in the period 14-16 November to continue the community consultations. Meetings were held in Mildura, Swan Hill, Balranald and Rochester. Officials also participated by invitation in a meeting with the Murray Darling Association (MDA), the peak body for local government in the Murray-Darling Basin.

    Almost 70 community members attended this week’s public meetings. Farmers, irrigators, business owners, industry groups, community members and local councils have provided feedback and asked questions of State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    Officials continued to...

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 4

    The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources returned to Victoria and New South Wales in the period 14-16 November to continue the community consultations. Meetings were held in Mildura, Swan Hill, Balranald and Rochester. Officials also participated by invitation in a meeting with the Murray Darling Association (MDA), the peak body for local government in the Murray-Darling Basin.

    Almost 70 community members attended this week’s public meetings. Farmers, irrigators, business owners, industry groups, community members and local councils have provided feedback and asked questions of State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    Officials continued to hear participants’ concerns about the risks of further water recovery, water availability, the price of water and proposals to change existing water legislation.

    Participants discussed the impact on the viability of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District due to historical buy back schemes and more recent large scale horticultural developments outside the irrigation district. They also raised the importance of metering activity throughout the Basin - particularly in the northern part of the Basin. Meetings acknowledged the potential for urban projects with local communities to provide water recovery in some locations (e.g. rebates on water tanks) and the potential for further strategic investment into irrigation districts to make them more water efficient.

    Some people expressed their concerns regarding the health and wellbeing of the river and waterways – especially with current high river flows. They questioned the Commonwealth’s proposed use and storage of environmental water and noted the importance of environmental water also being managed more efficiently.

    Some community members queried why Victorian and NSW farmers are currently not eligible for on-farm efficiency programs, and whether or not this would change following the consultation process.

    Some people proposed exploring more water efficient crops, and some commented that on-farm projects could be undertaken with the right conditions and price incentives.

    Twenty-seven local government representatives participated in the MDA meeting. Participants expressed similar concerns about the impacts of historic water recovery and their preference for no further water recovery. They indicated that any further water recovery needed to be done in a way that did not have adverse impacts on their communities. There was support for continued local government engagement in matters related to Basin Plan implementation.

    There will be one further meeting in Cohuna on 28 November 2018, organised by the Victorian Farmers Federation. Interested persons can also complete a survey, lodge a submission or participate in the online webinars at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/water-efficiency until 5 pm Friday 23rd November.

    Statistics

    Town

    No. Attendees

    Top 3 attendee Demographics

    Mildura

    15

    Farmers and Irrigators - 26%

    Industry – 20%

    Local/State Government - 20%

    Swan Hill

    21

    Farmers and Irrigators - 61%

    Local/State Government - 19%

    Community - 14%

    Balranald

    10

    Local/State Government - 60%

    Farmers and Irrigators - 40%

    Rochester

    21

    Farmers and Irrigators - 80%

    Local/State Government - 29%

    Community - 14%

  • Public meetings

    7 months ago

    The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud MP has extended the consultation and additional meetings are being arranged. Meeting details will be published here.

    To register to participate in a meeting, email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au. Please include your name and the session you want to attend.

    Should you wish to propose a meeting, email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au. Please include a date and venue for consideration.

    Before you attend, you can read:

    List of meetings

    Location Date Time Venue
    Mildura, VIC 22 October 10 am Mildura Golf Resort - Members Bar
    287 Twelfth Street, Mildura VIC 3500
    Swan Hill, VIC 23 October 10 am Swan Hill Club - Glencoe Function Room
    5-17 McCallum Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585
    Kerang, VIC 23 October 6 pm Kerang Memorial Hall
    Nolan Street, Kerang VIC 3579
    Echuca, VIC 24 October 10 am The Cal Hotel
    110 Hare Street, Echuca VIC 3564
    Shepparton, VIC 24 October 6 pm Shepparton RSL
    88 Wyndham Street, Shepparton VIC 3630
    Toowoomba, QLD 29 October 9 am Burke & Wills Hotel
    554 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba City QLD 4350
    St George, QLD 30 October 9 am Care Balonne
    84-86 Victoria Street, St George QLD 4487
    Moree, NSW 30 October 6 pm Town and Country Club
    5 Frome Street, Moree NSW 2400
    Dubbo, NSW 31 October 2 pm Westside Hotel
    22-30 Whylandra Street, Dubbo NSW 2830
    Forbes, NSW 1 November 9 am Forbes Services Club
    Templar Street, Forbes NSW 2871
    Griffith, NSW 1 November 6 pm Griffith Leagues Club – Southside
    2 Bridge Road, Griffith NSW 2680
    Deniliquin, NSW 2 November 12 midday Deniliquin Golf Club
    1 Golf Club Road, Deniliquin NSW 2710
    Renmark, SA 5 November 10 am Renmark Hotel
    Murray Avenue, Renmark SA 5341
    Murray Bridge, SA 6 November 10 am Murray Bridge Club
    1 Murray Cod Drive, Murray Bridge SA 5253
    Mildura, VIC 14 November 6.30 pm

    Quality Hotel Mildura Grand
    Seventh Street, Mildura, VIC 3500

    Swan Hill, VIC 15 November 12 Midday Swan Hill Resort,
    405-415 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585
    Balranald, NSW 15 November 6:00 pm Balranald Club, 116 Market Street,
    Balranald NSW 2715
    Rochester 16 November 12 Midday Rochester Golf Club, Black Culvert Road (Off Northern Highway), Rochester VIC 3561
    Cohuna 28 November 12:30 pm Cohuna Gold Club,
    Weymouths Road, Cohuna VIC 3568

    The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud MP has extended the consultation and additional meetings are being arranged. Meeting details will be published here.

    To register to participate in a meeting, email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au. Please include your name and the session you want to attend.

    Should you wish to propose a meeting, email mdbwip.consultation@seftons.com.au. Please include a date and venue for consideration.

    Before you attend, you can read:

    List of meetings

    Location Date Time Venue
    Mildura, VIC 22 October 10 am Mildura Golf Resort - Members Bar
    287 Twelfth Street, Mildura VIC 3500
    Swan Hill, VIC 23 October 10 am Swan Hill Club - Glencoe Function Room
    5-17 McCallum Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585
    Kerang, VIC 23 October 6 pm Kerang Memorial Hall
    Nolan Street, Kerang VIC 3579
    Echuca, VIC 24 October 10 am The Cal Hotel
    110 Hare Street, Echuca VIC 3564
    Shepparton, VIC 24 October 6 pm Shepparton RSL
    88 Wyndham Street, Shepparton VIC 3630
    Toowoomba, QLD 29 October 9 am Burke & Wills Hotel
    554 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba City QLD 4350
    St George, QLD 30 October 9 am Care Balonne
    84-86 Victoria Street, St George QLD 4487
    Moree, NSW 30 October 6 pm Town and Country Club
    5 Frome Street, Moree NSW 2400
    Dubbo, NSW 31 October 2 pm Westside Hotel
    22-30 Whylandra Street, Dubbo NSW 2830
    Forbes, NSW 1 November 9 am Forbes Services Club
    Templar Street, Forbes NSW 2871
    Griffith, NSW 1 November 6 pm Griffith Leagues Club – Southside
    2 Bridge Road, Griffith NSW 2680
    Deniliquin, NSW 2 November 12 midday Deniliquin Golf Club
    1 Golf Club Road, Deniliquin NSW 2710
    Renmark, SA 5 November 10 am Renmark Hotel
    Murray Avenue, Renmark SA 5341
    Murray Bridge, SA 6 November 10 am Murray Bridge Club
    1 Murray Cod Drive, Murray Bridge SA 5253
    Mildura, VIC 14 November 6.30 pm

    Quality Hotel Mildura Grand
    Seventh Street, Mildura, VIC 3500

    Swan Hill, VIC 15 November 12 Midday Swan Hill Resort,
    405-415 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585
    Balranald, NSW 15 November 6:00 pm Balranald Club, 116 Market Street,
    Balranald NSW 2715
    Rochester 16 November 12 Midday Rochester Golf Club, Black Culvert Road (Off Northern Highway), Rochester VIC 3561
    Cohuna 28 November 12:30 pm Cohuna Gold Club,
    Weymouths Road, Cohuna VIC 3568
  • Communique week 3

    7 months ago

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 3

    Community consultation continued this week with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources listening to communities in South Australia. Meetings were held in Renmark and Murray Bridge. Officials also attended the Kerang River Murray Council CEO Meeting, by invitation.

    Nearly 50 community members attended the public meetings in South Australia. Irrigators, business owners, industry groups and local councils have been able to discuss their concerns, and express their ideas, with State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    Officials heard the views of participants about the risks of a further 450 GL water...

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 3

    Community consultation continued this week with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources listening to communities in South Australia. Meetings were held in Renmark and Murray Bridge. Officials also attended the Kerang River Murray Council CEO Meeting, by invitation.

    Nearly 50 community members attended the public meetings in South Australia. Irrigators, business owners, industry groups and local councils have been able to discuss their concerns, and express their ideas, with State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    Officials heard the views of participants about the risks of a further 450 GL water recovery, water pricing mechanisms, and that pricing incentives may not be enough to attract people to participate in the program. Participants also shared concerns that works completed under previous Commonwealth programs had seen South Australian irrigators already achieve high levels of water efficiency.

    South Australian communities were concerned that Victorian and NSW farmers are currently not eligible for on-farm efficiency programs and that this could limit the amount of water that could be recovered for the environment.

    People saw potential in co-designing efficiency projects within their communities that might incorporate the plans of industry, farmers and local governments, taking a regional approach.

    Learning from previous Government programs, participants suggested broadening the eligible items available under the program to mitigate possible socio-economic risks and improve participation. Participants also suggested that the program should help build business resilience to drought and changing market conditions.

    Next week sees the Department return to Victoria and New South Wales where we look forward to meeting with communities in Mildura, Swan Hill, Balranald and Rochester.

    Everyone is able to have their say - interested parties can complete the survey, lodge a submission or participate in the online webinars at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/water-efficiency.

    Statistics

    Town No. Attendees Top 3 attendee Demographics
    Renmark 17 Farmers and Irrigators - 17% Local/State Government - 35% Other - 23%
    Murray Bridge 30 Farmers and Irrigators - 33% Local/State Government - 30% Other - 13%
  • Communique week 2

    7 months ago

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 2

    Community consultation regarding water efficiency measures continued last week, with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources listening to communities in Queensland and NSW. Meetings were held in Toowoomba, St George, Moree, Dubbo, Forbes, Griffith and Deniliquin.

    Over 156 community members attended these meetings. Irrigators, business owners, industry groups and local councils have discussed their concerns and ideas with State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    In the Northern Basin, the importance of engaging with Indigenous peoples was emphasised, particularly in relation to the delivery of cultural flows. Interest was also shown in employment opportunities...

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 2

    Community consultation regarding water efficiency measures continued last week, with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources listening to communities in Queensland and NSW. Meetings were held in Toowoomba, St George, Moree, Dubbo, Forbes, Griffith and Deniliquin.

    Over 156 community members attended these meetings. Irrigators, business owners, industry groups and local councils have discussed their concerns and ideas with State and Commonwealth Government officials.

    In the Northern Basin, the importance of engaging with Indigenous peoples was emphasised, particularly in relation to the delivery of cultural flows. Interest was also shown in employment opportunities that might arise from projects.

    Meeting participants suggested governments should link up with researchers to deliver the most innovative solutions for their region. Community members saw opportunities for a regional co-design approach in some locations, particularly where urban, industrial and integrated on and off-farm projects could be coordinated.

    Communities wanted the Department to explore opportunities to improve water security and management of environmental flows. They discussed options such as deepening water storages, constructing cells within current storages, and creating new off-river storages.

    Potential socio-economic concerns included the cumulative impacts of water recovery, employment losses, skills shortages in emerging industries and climate change.

    Concerns were also raised about past impacts of the Basin Plan implementation (particularly large buybacks), the low water allocations in some regions, management of environmental water, and that pricing incentives were not enough to attract farmers to participate in the program.

    In the Southern Basin, participants were concerned about the risks of a further 450 GL of water recovery, cumulative impacts, profiteering, and the effect of the program on the water market. There was a strong view by many participants that no further water recovery should occur. There were also a few participants seeking to engage in the program.

    Participants offered some options for additional criteria to mitigate some of the risks identified during the sessions.

    Communities expressed the need for governments and officials to work together at all levels - Commonwealth, State and Local. Importantly, this included developing plans and implementing projects at whole of river, state and regional/community levels.

    This week sees the department travel to South Australia for meetings in Renmark on 5th November and Murray Bridge on 6th November. The consultation period has also been extended to include additional public meetings in Mildura on 14th November and Swan Hill on 15th November with further meetings being scheduled in Balranald and Rochester. There will also be a webinar on 19th November.

    Everyone is able to have their say. Interested parties can complete the survey, lodge a submission or participate in the online webinar. Details are available at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/water-efficiency.

    Statistics

    Town No. Attendees Top 3 attendee Demographics
    Toowoomba 7 Local/State/Federal Government - 28% Representative - 28% Farmers/Irrigators- 28%
    St George 18 Local/State/Federal Government - 33% Farmers/Irrigators- 27% Indigenous - 16%
    Moree 8 Local/State/Federal Government - 62% Representative - 25% Community - 13%
    Dubbo 6 Local/State/Federal Government - 50% Representative - 33% Industry - 17%
    Forbes 4 Representative - 50% Local/State Government - 25% Farmers/ Irrigators- 25%
    Griffith 45 Farmers/Irrigators- 46% Local/State/ Federal Government - 20% Representative - 11%
    Deniliquin 68 Farmers/ Irrigators - 76% Local/State/Federal Government - 13% Representative - 8%
  • Water efficiency projects – Webinar – 12 midday Monday 19 November 2018

    7 months ago

    Murray-Darling Basin communities are invited to have their say on the best ways to invest in water efficiency projects, including additional assessment criteria for on-farm projects funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program.

    Have your say by joining our Webinar on water efficiency projects.

    As a webinar participant you will be able to ask questions that will be answered during the webinar and published on this site.

    Register for the webinar

    If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact our webinar team

    Time: Nov 19, 2018 12 midday in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

    Murray-Darling Basin communities are invited to have their say on the best ways to invest in water efficiency projects, including additional assessment criteria for on-farm projects funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure Program.

    Have your say by joining our Webinar on water efficiency projects.

    As a webinar participant you will be able to ask questions that will be answered during the webinar and published on this site.

    Register for the webinar

    If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact our webinar team

    Time: Nov 19, 2018 12 midday in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

  • Communique week 1

    7 months ago

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 1

    The first week of public meetings has seen robust and informative discussions on the Efficiency Measures Program. The community shared their views and ideas on the program, suggested other criteria and discussed risks and opportunities for local farmers, irrigators and the community.

    The Murray-Darling Basin governments are seeking community and industry views on potential additional assessment criteria for on-farm water efficiency projects to ensure they produce neutral or positive social and economic outcomes. This week saw the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officers travel to Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang, Echuca...

    Efficiency measures public meetings – Week 1

    The first week of public meetings has seen robust and informative discussions on the Efficiency Measures Program. The community shared their views and ideas on the program, suggested other criteria and discussed risks and opportunities for local farmers, irrigators and the community.

    The Murray-Darling Basin governments are seeking community and industry views on potential additional assessment criteria for on-farm water efficiency projects to ensure they produce neutral or positive social and economic outcomes. This week saw the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officers travel to Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang, Echuca and Shepparton.

    Over 200 community members, including irrigators, business owners, industry groups and local council representatives joined with state and Commonwealth government officials at each meeting, with the largest group of participants being farmers and irrigators.
    Participants voiced some concerns with the implementation of the Murray‑Darling Basin Plan, including about the historical impacts of water recovery, constraints on the delivery of environmental water, as well as making suggestions on additional criteria for on-farm projects.

    Many irrigators were concerned at the prospect of further water recovery in their district. However, there were also a few farmers who wanted to participate in the new water infrastructure program.

    Some socio-economic risks identified in the meetings included potential impacts on the price of water, impacts on the cost of running irrigation networks and the rapid growth in horticulture putting more pressure on available water. There was discussion about whether the project criteria can adequately address these risks and the importance of considering impacts across regions and not just local impacts.

    Participants were generally receptive to the idea of water efficiencies focussed on urban, industrial, off-farm and metering, but were concerned whether there would be sufficient proposals to meet the 450 GL target. It was also suggested that additional criteria could be applied to these projects.

    The consultants, Seftons and Associates, are capturing everything people are telling us so that we can provide a full and accurate report to Basin Ministers when they meet later this year.

    Next week sees the department travel to Queensland, NSW and Victoria. The Department is looking forward to listening to communities at meetings in Toowoomba, St George, Moree, Dubbo, Forbes, Griffith and Deniliquin.

    Everyone is able to have their say at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au.

    Attendance summary

    Town No. Attendees Top 3 attendee Demographics
    Mildura 39 Farmer/Irrigator 32% Local/state officials 28% Natural Resource Management Rep 18%
    Swan Hill 31 Farmer/Irrigator 52% Local/state officials 28% Community 8%
    Kerang 32 Farmer/Irrigator 68% Local/state officials 6% Community 6%
    Echuca 48 Farmer/Irrigator 42% Local/state officials 18% Business Owner 8%
    Shepparton 58 Farmer/Irrigator 32% Community 18% Water Authority 13%