Best laid plans (Part 2)

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The Federal Senate is due to vote on major changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan– if it passes, it will effectively end further water recovery for the environment in the river system. The Basin States claim we can stop water recovery now, because they have 36 engineering projects throughout the Basin which can achieve similar outcomes. But critics hotly dispute that. In part two of our investigation into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, reporter Sarah Dingle reveals the politicking going on behind the scenes for Australia's most expensive environmental program. Note: Professor John Sheehan is now a former Commission of the Land and Environment Court, not Acting. Update: A Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan has concluded with a scathing report accusing the Commonwealth government authorities of maladministration, negligence, and unlawful actions. You can read it here: https://www.mdbrc.sa.gov.au/sites/default/files/murray-darling-basin-royal-commission-report.pdf?v=1548898371 Media Award: Background Briefing's two-part investigation into the declining health of Australia's largest river system won the UN Day Media award for Promotion of Responsible Consumption and Production. See all the winners here: https://unaavictoria.org.au/media-awards/winners-finalists/current-winners-and-finalists/ Earlier: This story is subject to an editorial complaint. Please refer to this statement: https://about.abc.net.au/complaints/background-briefing-29-april-6-may-2018-abc-news-facebook-26-april-2018/. Editor's note: An investigation by the ABC’s independent complaints handling body has concluded that undue weight was given to the research paper by Grafton & Williams cited in the program and included two factual errors. References to the SDL Adjustment Mechanism, which was the subject of a Senate vote, and the statement “The Federal Senate is due to vote on major changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – if it passes, it will effectively end further water recovery for the environment in the river system”, should have included reference to the potential recovery of 450 GL through additional efficiency measures. While the likelihood of the recovery of the 450GL is disputed, this was required material context. Further, it was misleading to suggest that the creation of licences given to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder as a direct result of the infrastructure subsidies are equivalent to “printing notes” and are not underpinned by real water, without pointing out that the scheme involves transferring existing water entitlements and no new entitlement is created. A summary of the finding is available here.

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