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What Victoria has achieved

Since 2013, the Government has worked with Victorian Basin communities to deliver the Basin Plan in a way that protects regional economies and delivers positive outcomes for communities and the environment, and increases Traditional Owners’ involvement. Victoria is more advanced in delivering our obligations under the Basin Plan than any other state.

Shifting the goal posts

With changes made to the Basin Plan in 2023, without the support of Victoria, the Commonwealth Government has given themselves more powers to purchase water and watered down the strong socio-economic protections for communities that were previously agreed to by all states and the Commonwealth Government.

This means up to an additional 500 MCGs worth of water (750 gigalitres) could be recovered across the Basin by the Commonwealth Government. There is limited detail on how this will occur, and Victorians deserve to know how this will be managed in a way that minimises negative impacts on communities and environments. Open tender buybacks cannot provide this certainty.

Victoria's plan

Victoria will continue to protect and restore water-dependent ecosystems and deliver positive outcomes for communities, farmers, and the environment through a range of investments. Consistency in our approach helps to build integrity and trust in the Basin Plan.

The evidence is clear that open tender water purchases result in significant economic harm to our towns, industries and agricultural sector and the communities who rely on them. They will also increase risks to Victorian waterways and wetlands if further water recovery is not done strategically to target local environmental benefits alongside critical environmental works projects.

The Victorian Government has reviewed possible actions to protect and support communities and we know that proposing strategic alternatives, including new infrastructure projects, improved river regulations, other rule-based options and reconfiguring irrigation districts, are the best ways to get the best outcomes for our communities, rivers and floodplains.

We plan to build on this approach, working with Victorian communities to establish guiding principles. These will be used to develop the next round of projects and infrastructure at a regional scale in partnership with communities.

Through working with communities, including Traditional Owners, we will make sure that any water recovery in Victoria will have real, beneficial outcomes, without the large socio-economic impacts of open tender buybacks – rehabilitating our environmentally and culturally important landscapes.

What’s next

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) will work alongside water corporations and catchment management authorities to talk to communities about Victoria’s approach and will work with communities to identify innovative new alternatives to open tender water purchase.

Have your say

Share your thoughts on Victoria’s prospectus to look after our Basin future together.

You can also contact us at rural.water@delwp.vic.gov.au

More information

Page last updated: 16/05/24