Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Leadership Group joint chair David McKenzie has slammed Ernst & Young’s analysis of the extra 450Gl of ‘up-water’ outlined in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, labelling the report a ‘‘shocker’’.
Released at the end of last year, consultancy firm Ernst & Young was tasked with analysing the opportunities to recover 450Gl of additional environmental water with neutral or positive socio-economic impacts.
Yet the report is devoid of original analysis, lacks detail and was built on ‘‘flimsy’’ foundations, according to Mr McKenzie.
He said he was particularly surprised to see that none of the 13 case studies took place in the GMID, with the closest case study taking place in Deniliquin.
‘‘The GMID and big parts surrounding it are already suffering negative consequences,’’ Mr McKenzie said.
‘‘The fact they haven’t analysed any of the work already done on the region makes me think they’re scared of asking questions because they’d find out something they didn’t want to find out.
‘‘It’s really clarified for me that all our concerns have been really well placed. The fact the report hasn’t addressed any matters, that makes me think there’s something there.’’
The 307-page report also failed to clearly outline what would be required to achieve the 450Gl, according to Mr McKenzie, with the report’s finding that there is ‘‘sufficient evidence’’ the 450Gl can be recovered with neutral or positive socio-economic outcomes based on ‘‘magic’’.
‘‘At the end of all the work there is no new analysis ... To cover themselves they say it’s subject to a number of projects and assumptions and they haven’t quantified the assumptions,’’ he said.
‘‘They haven’t said what the projects are, what they’ll cost. It’s obvious to anyone that the 450Gl cannot be recovered without any negative impacts.
‘‘It’s clear they (Ernst & Young) think it can’t be done so it’s subject to all this magic that happens in the background.’’
Ultimately Mr McKenzie said he was disappointed by the substance of the report and had hope for rigorous new evidence that took into accord the whole regional impact.
He said there were too many small snapshots that focused too narrowly on the impacts of the basin plan.
‘‘They haven’t addressed the accumulative impacts of all these decisions and the real impact on all these people in the region,’’ Mr McKenzie said.
‘‘No-one will know the full impact (of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan) until we have a drought.
‘‘It’s going to hit regions like a ton of bricks.’’