Wong hands Murray-Darling allocations to states


From the ABC

Penny Wong: States best-placed to decide on water allocations. (File photo)

Penny Wong: States best-placed to decide on water allocations. (File photo) (Ron Johnson)

The Federal Government has reversed a key part of the controversial Murray-Darling Basin takeover plan, saying it will allow the states to retain their rights to manage annual water allocations in the catchment area.

Federal Water Minister Penny Wong made the announcement after a meeting with her state counterparts in Sydney today.

Ms Wong says a cap on water extractions will be set by the Federal Government after discussions with scientists.

But she says the states are best-placed to decide how that water is allocated.

"We want to take national leadership and we will do so by ensuring that there is a basin-wide plan," she said.

"But we are absolutely committed to a cooperative approach and that includes ensuring that the states retain those rights which are necessary for good water management within the basin."

Ms Wong says despite the positive meeting, Victoria remains the only state not willing to hand its powers for managing the basin over to the Commonwealth.

"What we’ve announced today is an agreement with all of the basin states, including Victoria on their key issues," she said.

"We will continue to discuss the detail of arrangements.

"Clearly we do have more more negotiations to go but I am very pleased with the steps that have been taken today."

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