We welcome the decision to bring this review forward, as a valuable input into the preparation of a new water sharing plan, which will also function as a water resource plan under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and Basin Plan 2012. Given the number of issues which have come to light regarding water management in the Murray-Darling and, more particularly in the Barwon-Darling system, it is timely to have a thorough and independent evaluation to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not compounded in the new plan.

A significant concern for us is that the fundamental approach of the Act has been misplaced and replaced with an attempt to simultaneously balance the environmental, economic and social outcomes of the Act – an exercise which necessarily involves trading off the ecological health of the system for shorter term economic outcomes. This is not what the Act requires, or indeed allows.