The authority for the Murray-Darling Basin has delayed again the draft plan to allocate water rights, this time by a month to November.
Last week, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) delayed the release of the draft plan to save the basin due for release to October from early August.
MDBA chief Craig Knowles said the current delay was due to an inability to have all parties sign a program they agreed upon.
“The work will take some extra time but it will be well spent,” Mr Knowles said in a statement on Thursday.
“The states and territory governments’ roles in this are critical.
“They have decades of knowledge and they will continue to be partners in the implementation of the plan into the future.”
The aim was to have the draft plan on public show, Mr Knowles said.
“That’s why I’ve proposed that it’ll be pens down in mid-October, to allow a few short weeks to finalise our collective endeavours, get our work to the printers, and have the draft ready for exhibition in November, followed by 20 weeks of consultation,” he said.
Mr Knowles said the plan was to allocate water that would seek balance, respect communities and allow for changes over time.
“We need to incorporate infrastructure, adopt more effective and efficient rules about water management, build environmental works to manage water smarter and, most of all, we need all of the governments of Australia to work together,” he said.
But Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said the latest delay was another “farce” from the current government.
“A few weeks ago the draft was meant to be out in late July, then it was mid-August, then mid-October and now, we find out this morning, sometime in November,” Senator Joyce said.
He said the community could have no confidence in the government if the release of the report continued to be delayed.
“We want to make sure we get this right but with all of these delays one has to question whether there are some serious disputes between those who want to put frogs and swamps before people and those who want to do the right thing,” Senator Joyce said.