The Albanese government and Australian Greens have agreed to amendments to Murray-Darling Basin plan laws, which will be debated in the Senate this week, however community groups in the Basin are urging the government to slow down the process.
Murray River Group of Councils (MRGC) acting chair Tony Marwood said government needed more consultation with communities across the region.
"We don't understand why the bill is being rushed through the Senate, especially when it is clear that concern about the potential reintroduction of water buybacks is widespread, both geographically and among industries," Cr Marwood said.
He said the MRGC viewpoint was echoed across different parts of the MDB.
"In presenting our concerns to the Senate Committee Inquiry in Canberra on 31 October, our sentiments were echoed by our NSW and Queensland local government counterparts, as well as by agricultural industry and farmer representatives," he said.
The major sticking point remains the issue of water buybacks, with Cr Marwood saying there would be big impacts on Basin communities if there were further buybacks.
"It's interesting to note that even the Senate Committee's own report admits that the committee accepts that buybacks will have an impact on communities."
The new deal brokered today will push forward for the recovery of 450 gigalitres (GL) of additional environmental water by December 31, 2027 and will give the federal government the power to withdraw state government infrastructure projects that are deemed non-viable.
Government will also be allowed to push for additional water recovery in the northern basin.
Other major points from the deal include tasking the Inspector-General of Water Compliance to undertake an independent audit of the water allocated to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and publishing information about the status of projects and delivery of the 450GL of water for the environment.
Indigenous issues have also been addressed with acknowledgement in the plan of First Nations people's connection, history and water needs and the boosting of funding for the Aboriginal Water Entitlement Program (AWEP) to $100 million, while there will also be mandatory reporting to demonstrate how environmental water holders have considered First Nations values and uses, and involved First Nations in environmental watering decisions
With Australian Associated Press