Government used “unreliable” research for Murray Darling policy – Greens call for VAGO investigation

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MEDIA RELEASE 7 September 2023

Government used “unreliable” research for Murray Darling policy – Greens call for VAGO investigation.

This week, the Murray Darling Basin Authority released a damning report highlighting the Government’s reliance on sub-par research to justify their policy position on water recovery.

The in-depth report, produced by the University of Adelaide’s School of Economics and Public Policy, shows successive governments have leaned on studies from expensive consultants  which largely fail to meet basic research standards. 

Academics detail a lack of peer review, small control groups and inconsistent mathematical modelling across the various studies which have helped inform Labor’s stubborn opposition to voluntary water purchases.

The report follows the Victorian Government’s recent refusal to take part in a whole-of-basin deal brokered by the Commonwealth Government which would see voluntary water purchases reinstated as a way to ensure water recovery targets are met.

Victorian Greens Water Spokesperson Dr Sarah Mansfield has referred the issue to the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) and the Ombudsman, requesting an investigation into the reliability of the research used to inform Victoria’s water policy and its significant investments into contentious water recovery infrastructure projects.


“This report raises serious questions about the integrity of water policy in Victoria. It’s distressing to hear that the Labor Governemnt’s position on water purchases is based on unreliable research  and not based on science.”

“The University of Adelaide’s report makes it clear the Government has based its policies on sub-par research which completely ignores the positive impacts voluntary water purchases would have for the Murray Darling system.

“I’ve referred this issue to VAGO and the Ombudsman, and call on the Water Minister to explain how this was allowed to occur. Basin communities deserve to have confidence that significant policy decisions are based on good quality evidence.”


Melanie Drummond


PHONE: (03) 5222 1941

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