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Senate slams Murray-Darling plan

A SENATE committee on regional affairs has launched a scathing attack on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which it said "repeatedly ignored the major flaws in the basin plan" in a report released on Wednesday.

The interim report of the Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, led by Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, has recommended the authority release its reasons behind the 2750 gigalitre annual environmental flows.

In its report, the committee has also recommended the basin authority consider modelling other scenarios to look at environmental flows in the basin.

And after years of public debate and numerous delays in the basin plan, the committee also demanded the CSIRO be commissioned to "review the effectiveness of any scenario to reach the Water Act's ecological outcomes".

The committee also recommended the basin authority publicly explain the socio-economic impacts of the environmental flow targets.

It suggested the government introduce "support programs" for basin communities that "are disproportionately affected by reduced water entitlements".

The report was the committee's second interim report, with the committee's final determination on the basin plan unlikely to be released before the end of the year.

Topics:  bill heffernan, csiro, environment, murray-darling basin authority, senate, water


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