As a Regulation, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was 'made' by Water Minister Tony Burke in November 2012. Sure, it was a disallowable instrument (either House of Parliament could disallow it) but that was highly unlikely to occur. As a result, the Parliamentary process was something of an anticlimax after several years of high profile national debate. Two Members tried a last hurrah with a Disallowance Motion, but it received very little support. The Federal Government likewise tried to breathe life back to the issue by releasing a media statement earlier this year on the theoretical last day for Disallowance (despite the Standing Orders, which govern how Parliament is conducted, being quite clear on hearing the same issue twice in a limited period).
Subsequent to all of that, the most frightening opinion of all came to the lips of too many commentators; the Basin Plan is 'done'.Oh, far from it. Like all far reaching and broad debates, the setting of the high level policy directives is far simpler than working out how to implement them in practice. The difficulty for the Basin Plan lies ahead - a problem exacerbated for irrigators by what will now be a lack of public leverage given the unfortunately common perception that it is 'done'.