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No secret pact for water buybacks: Anderson

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Kevin Anderson, Minister for Lands and Water (NSW), Media Release, 16 November 2022

The NSW Government has reaffirmed its opposition to non-strategic water buybacks being used to meet water recovery targets as part of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said NSW has consistently opposed non-strategic buybacks because of the detrimental social and economic impacts it can have on regional communities.

“I was concerned by statements made by the Commonwealth Government recently, suggesting Basin Ministers had agreed buybacks would be the way to bridge the remaining gap in water recovery,” Mr Anderson said.

The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council agreed in October 2022 the Commonwealth Government and Basin States would continue to explore how water recovery targets can be met.

Mr Anderson said the NSW Government welcomes the Commonwealth correcting the record and reaffirming there is no open round of buybacks being undertaken.

“We have seen first-hand the negative long-term impact non-strategic buybacks have had on our communities and we want to avoid this,” Mr Anderson said.

“When it comes to managing water my view is healthy rivers, healthy farms and healthy communities, not one or the other.

“The NSW Government has repeatedly called on the Federal Labor Government to rule out recovering water this way, and has consistently advocated for a balanced approach to water recovery, through a combination of infrastructure improvements, environmental works and rules review.”

NSW is committed to delivering the outcomes of the Basin Plan in a way that supports farmers, communities and the environment.

NSW will again be making this position clear when Ministers meet early next year.

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