Dodgy Science at Play Again

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) says it stands by its rigorous and independent assessment of downstream impacts undertaken during the Northern Basin Review after criticism this week from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and The Australia Institute.

MDBA claims the scenarios referred to by the Australia Institute modelled the different volumes of water which would arrive in Menindee and other catchments if different delivery methods and types of water recovery were used.

The MDBA says it did not adjust down any scenario modelled and any suggestion otherwise is misleading.

“The modelling and data which underpinned our recommendations from the Northern Basin Review was strong, accurate and stood up to the scrutiny of independent peer-review by leading environmental, economic and water experts, who found our work to be robust.”

“The Northern Basin Review was a thorough, science and evidence-based assessment of water management settings for the northern Basin, undertaken over a four-year period.”

MDBA says it is a legislated requirement of the Basin Plan and a core objective of to achieve the best possible balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes in implementing the Plan.

“Consideration of different options is an important part of assessing the impact of water recovery on the environment and regional communities. Our aim was to find ways to maximise environmental outcomes whilst having the minimum impact on industry and downstream communities.”

MDBA also says all Basin governments, including South Australia, reviewed the analysis and the Northern Basin Review was considered and endorsed by the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council.

“The MDBA is an independent, science-based and evidence-driven organisation—our chief objective is to deliver the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in a way that will secure the future of this vital river system and the communities and industries that rely on it.”

The MDBA’s says its recommended Northern Basin Amendments will deliver the environmental benefits sought through the Basin Plan with 70 GL less water recovery—while saving about 200 jobs in local irrigation-dependent communities.

“The MDBA stands by the Northern Basin Review process and urges all parties to examine its detailed and published evidence when considering the amendments currently before Parliament.”