Home One community Murray-Darling Basin plan for Menindee Lakes gets a ‘no’ from NSW Water Minister

Murray-Darling Basin plan for Menindee Lakes gets a ‘no’ from NSW Water Minister


Water stakeholders in South Australia have pledged to fight any changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) after an interstate politician cast doubt on aspects of the interstate agreement.

NSW Water Minister Kevin Anderson this week sparked debate among environmental groups, irrigators and state and federal politicians after touring the far west of the state, including including Menindee.

He told ABC Broken Hill he was not in favor of water from the Menindee Lakes being pushed into the Murray River in South Africa and wanted the lakes to be managed differently.

This is despite the MDBP stating that 106 gigaliters of water from the lakes would help supply an additional 450 gigaliters that had been agreed for SA.

“I would say no to that,” Mr. Anderson said.

This is despite the Federal Labor Party’s election promise to provide environmental water in full.

“I don’t know why Adelaide should mean more to Mr. [Opposition Leader Anthony] Albanese than Menindee Lakes and this community here,” Anderson said.

NSW Water Minister Kevin Anderson wants the Menindee Lakes to be managed differently.(ABC New England North West: Patrick Bell)

Comments spark outrage

Renmark Irrigation Trust chief executive Rosalie Auricht said politicians needed to understand that delivering the plan in its entirety benefits the whole system, not just the Murray River.

“An additional 450 gigaliters of environmental water is important because it can be used multiple times as it moves down the system,” she said.

“Where this is drawn from is something to be determined and agreed [upon] between all states.

South Africa’s Water Minister Susan Close said she was committed to standing up to upstream basin states, including NSW.

“All we can do in South Africa is use all the power we have, and we don’t have zero, but it’s really hard to be at the bottom of the river,” he said. she declared.

Investigate legal options

Ms Close also said her government would begin investigating their legal options under the Australian Constitution and the Water Act 2007.

“That’s what the last government tried.

“It did absolutely nothing, but probably made them laugh at us behind our backs.”

A big brown river with trees on the side and an island in the middle
The Menindee Lakes are made up of four main lakes that can dry up during drought.(ABC Broken Hill: Callum Marshall)

Frustrated environmental groups

As water became a key issue between major political parties ahead of the federal election, Elizabeth Tregenza, a member of the River Lakes and Coorong action group, said the basin system should not be used as a “football Politics”.

She said the numbers used in the basin plan to quantify the amount of water returned to the environment were becoming “completely meaningless”.

Barker MP Tony Pasin has been contacted for comment.