The enshrining of the final Murray Darling Basin Plan into law this week was a historic moment for Basin communities – a minority federal Labor government succeeded where previous governments have failed.
The final plan will not only create a sustainable river system that supports communities, irrigators and the river itself, it will also ensure the long-term viability of the region.
To support the plan I have announced $100 million in funding for economic diversification projects to assist Basin communities to adjust to a more sustainable water future.
The Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program will help Basin communities meet the challenge of living in a water-constrained environment by funding innovative, community-driven projects that will stimulate employment and regional growth.
By supporting economic diversification in the Murray Darling Basin region, the federal government is enabling communities to build on their local knowledge and local solutions to transform their comparative advantage into competitive advantage.
The Basin communities understand the importance of learning how to live in a water-constrained environment. I have travelled the regions and seen first-hand the work Basin communities and industries have been doing to develop creative, long-term solutions that support the move towards a more sustainable future.
This funding will build on this commitment and on the existing work Basin communities have been undertaking in partnership with the federal government and Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees since last November to identify potential projects that will diversify their skills and economic base.
It is about working with the local RDAs and communities to join the dots and achieve practical solutions that stack up. I look forward to partnering with the Victorian government, Basin communities and RDA committees on these important projects and to working together to restore the river system to health.
Regional Development Minister