Thursday, 8 December 2011

ACF socioeconomic report indicates comments that the Basin plan will cost jobs are a beat-up


Reality check needed on impact on regional jobs from MDB Plan

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) today released an analysis of the socioeconomic studies underpinning the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan which reveals that a healthy river system will have little impact on jobs.

According to Simon O’Connor, economic adviser at ACF, the analysis – Separating the wheat from the chaff: an assessment of the socioeconomics of the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan – indicates that jobs will, in fact, increase in the short term. In the longer term, small decreases in jobs (around 200 per year) will be offset by the much greater increase in new jobs created (13,000 per year).

“The alarmist comments that the Basin Plan will devastate jobs across the basin are grossly misleading,” he said.

The plan cites 23 socioeconomic reports that consistently conclude with just one message – the impact of reform of the river system will have a small and manageable economic impact on communities of the basin.

“To be clear, no credible evidence has yet been presented that contradicts this conclusion,” he said.   

According to the MDBA, “Overall, economic modelling of the impacts of the proposed Basin Plan revealed that at an aggregate level, the Basin-wide economic costs will be small —smaller, proportionally, than the corresponding reductions in water diversions.”

There is however a major gap in the draft plan, Mr O’Connor said. 

“We are currently seeing only one side of the balance sheet of water reform on the Murray- Darling – the costs – and simply ignoring the economic benefits to rural and regional communities of a healthy river system,” he said. 


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