Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Environment groups meet to discuss Murray Darling Basin reform

Media release
16 March 2011

Water Minister Tony Burke has today hosted a roundtable with representatives from Australian environment and conservation groups on Murray Darling Basin reform.

Mr Burke met with representatives from environment and conservation groups including the Australian Conservation Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Australian Floodplain Association, the farming sector and state and national parks associations'.

Mr Burke said the meeting was an important part of the Gillard Government's consultation with communities on reform in the Murray Darling Basin.

"The Gillard Government wants to get the best outcome for the Murray Darling Basin so that communities have certainty for the future," Mr Burke said.

"We want Murray Darling Basin reform to deliver three key outcomes: a healthy, working river system, sustainable food production and to drive strong regional communities.

"That's why we are investing over $12 billion to secure water for the future by improving water-efficiency in the basin and in doing so making more water available for our rivers.

"We understand how important it is that basin communities get an opportunity to contribute to basin reforms and this meeting continued productive discussions the Gillard Government has been having with communities.

"The meeting received a briefing from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on water recovery, strategies for managing and using that water and the forward works program."

The meeting also covered a range of areas relating to environmental health of the Murray Darling Basin including environmental works and measures.

"I was particularly interested in the feedback from farmers who reiterated the need for a healthy river to underpin sustainable agriculture," Mr Burke said.

"The Government will take into account feedback provided and I thank everyone who made the trip to Canberra for this roundtable."

Today's roundtable was the fourth in a series of roundtables the Water Minister has hosted on Murray Darling Basin reform and follows last week's meeting with irrigation sector representatives from basin communities.