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This Week’s Highlight: Sustainable Rivers Audit Research Contribution

The Murray-Darling Basin is the largest and most complex river system in Australia. It covers one million square kilometres in the south-east of the continent across NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory. The Basin holds a rich diversity of natural environments, is crucial to Australia’s economy, and is home to 2.3 million Australians including people from more than 40 Indigenous clans.


The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 set up the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) as an independent expertise-based statutory agency. In 2012, there was widespread agreement across government to protect the Basin for future generations. This consensus developed the Basin Plan to manage it as a whole-connected system. The Basin Plan sets the balance for water management – sustainably administering rivers and groundwater to share available water between consumptive users and the environment.


The Commonwealth Water Act requires the MDBA to review the Basin Plan in 2026. The Australian Government has directed the MDBA to reinstate the Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) and update the Sustainable Yields (SY) program. In addition, the MDBA has committed to publishing the first Murray-Darling Basin Outlook in time to contribute to the 2026 Basin Plan Review.


To achieve this the MDBA requires capability and capacity to deliver the Sustainable Rivers Audit project. This Approach to Market (ATM) seeks suitable suppliers to:

· analyse and report on the current condition and trend of key values in the Basin across the three themes of environment, social, and economic

· analyse the contribution of the Basin Plan to these conditions.

The procurement structure involves three work packages based on the themes. A potential supplier may tender for all three themes or any one or more themes, in any combination. To deliver these interrelated pieces of work, the MDBA needs substantial support, technically, conceptually, and collaboratively. The MDBA has conducted substantial scoping work on the SRA, SY and MDB Outlook projects and the preferred supplier will work within this scope.


The MDBA expects the preferred supplier to engage with related areas of work as needed to progress the SRA project. The MDBA will facilitate supplier engagement with these related pieces of work.


Questions will be permitted up until 4pm 29 August 2023 ACT local time. The proposed start date is 28 September 2023, and the contract will expire on Sunday, 30 June 2025.


The closing time and date for responses is 3pm ACT local time on 5 September 2023.

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