Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud is reassuring dairy and rice producers the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will give them greater certainty and security.

“I understand farmers are hurting because of the drought, but changing the Plan won’t fix that,” Minister Littleproud said.

“When farmers are on zero allocation so is the environment.

“We need leadership when it comes to delivering the plan, not politics.

“The Government secured an agreement for 605 gigalitres in offsets through supply and constraint projects last year.

“This meant we didn’t need to buy back 252 gigalitres of water in Victoria and 273 gigalitres of water in NSW by 30 June this year.

“It’s important the states can get on and deliver these projects to give farmers security and certainty.

“Basin communities will benefit from the jobs these projects create.

“If they are not delivered by Basin states by 2024 the Commonwealth will be forced to run a water buyback program.

“In December last year all Basin water ministers also agreed to the socio-economic neutrality test for the recovery of additional water. This test ensures farmers will not be worse off.

“The states and farming groups asked me for a socio-economic neutrality test and it’s been delivered.

“The Victorian Farmers Federation was just one group that came out in support of the test.

“It’s important these projects go ahead so we don’t have to buy back water.

“This is the best plan we have and we can’t afford to blow it up.”