The new Murray-Darling Basin Authority boss says he wants to ensure a future for irrigated agriculture, as he enters one of the most bitter debates in the country.
Phillip Glyde also acknowledged that some Basin communities were “struggling”, as they grapple not only with the Basin Plan, but also drought and other factors.
But he does believe the Basin Plan gets the balance right, and has urged communities and governments to “stay the course”.
“What we’re doing with the Basin Plan, and the whole idea governments had with the Basin Plan, was to provide that sustainable footing for Australian agricultural irrigated industries to survive,” he said.
“That, to me, is one of the great challenges that the irrigated industry has: we do have to make sure that the water use is sustainable, not just now, but over the next 20, 30, 40 years as the climate will change.
“From an environmental perspective, I think it’s really important that we maintain the river. It provides a source of income for a lot of other industries: tourism, recreation, etc, and it provides a lot of social wellbeing for the communities who live around the river.