With all options still on the table, including water buybacks, Minister for Water Tanya Plibersek and the federal government have opened a consultation process looking for "innovative ideas" to help deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan "in full".
With the June 2024 deadline looming and a lot of water still to be recouped, exactly what will be done to hit the 450 gigalitre target has been the subject of much discussion for water users across the state.
In the ninth report card for the plan, which was delivered in February this year, MDBA chief executive Andrew McConville said there was still a way to go to get all the water resource plans accredited and some projects under the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism were unlikely to be delivered on time.
The Government has said it is committed to delivering the plan in full, including the 450 gigalitres and any shortfalls in the bridging the gap project, but recognises communities and industry need to be part of the conversation.
Without taking water buybacks off the table, Ms Plibersek said the government was looking for alternatives.
"The Government is committed to delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full," Ms Plibersek said.
"I'm pleased that all basin states and territories are also committed to doing this.
"After years of delay and sabotage by the Liberals and Nationals, we want to get this right.
"I've said all options are on the table to deliver the plan.
"I welcome innovative and practical ideas for how we can deliver a sustainable basin for the communities, farmers, businesses and First Nations groups who rely on it."
The consultation opened Monday, May 29, and closes Monday, July 3, with suggestions delivered via the consultation webpage which is the standard channel used by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW).
The department will hold face-to-face workshops with representatives from key stakeholder groups of First Nations, environmentalists, academics, irrigators and farmers, and local government, with no face-to-face consultation planned for the general community.
As part of the Productivity Commission's second five-yearly review of the Basin Plan, it will be travelling across the basin throughout the next two months to discuss their inquiry and holding public forums, where there will also be factsheets to direct stakeholders to the DCCEEW's consultation process.
There will also be a public webinar on Tuesday, June 20. The Government has said the webinar will provide an opportunity to ask questions ahead of submitting suggestions.
The DCCEEW will publish a review of public submissions in August this year with the Government saying the submissions will be measured on their ability to contribute towards the water recovery targets or achieve basin plan flow targets more efficiently, secure value for money, provide enduring environmental outcomes, minimise socio-economic impacts, provide other co-benefits (economic, social, environmental, cultural), and be supported and implemented effectively by basin state and territory governments.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.