QUEENSLAND and New South Wales have finally agreed to implement the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, ending years of fighting against downstream water users.
In exchange for the upstream states' cooperation, the Federal Government has agreed to buy back no more than 1500 gigalitres of irrigation entitlements and to prioritise investment in better infrastructure over such buybacks.
The governments of South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have all agreed to the new conditions.
Each of the five state and territory governments will now focus on helping the Federal Government recover water for environmental flows and working together to see such environmental water delivered to the areas of greatest need.
The agreement confirmed $25 million in economic diversification funding for South Australia, but did not clarify whether projects at Murray Bridge and Meningie - which the previous Federal Government earmarked for funding before losing the election - would still receive their cash allocations.
The proposed Gifford Hill function centre was to receive $5 million, a revamp of Murray Bridge's main street $3.3 million, an interpretive and resource centre at Meningie $2.8 million and Thomas Foods' meat works $1 million.
Liberal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said while the Federal Government was still considering which projects would receive diversification funding, it was committed to implementing the Basin Plan on time and in full.
"The fundamental priorities are to ensure the Murray-Darling's food and fibre industries remain vibrant and sustainable and that the river system on which they rely is restored to good health for the long term," he said.
"This important an achievement (will) protect the Murray-Darling while ensuring our farmers, who rely on the river system, remain vibrant and sustainable."