NATIONALS Senator Barnaby Joyce is urging the states to voice their position on the revised Murray-Darling Basin draft planLast week, Environment Minister Tony Burke submitted Labor's final revisions to the draft plan to save the ailing river system, which spans Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
He confirmed the basin states had struck a "reluctant consensus" and agreed to specific water volumes they must return to the environment.
The plan starts with a benchmark 2750 gigalitres of environmental water but includes funding to pump an extra 450GL into the system through improved water-efficiency projects.
Senator Joyce urged states unhappy with the plan to make their case known, adding it would be hard for the coalition to oppose the deal if all the states agreed to it.
"I want to see it publicly on the record," Senator Joyce said.
Senator Joyce said his discussions with the basin states remain confidential, but added "silence is taken as agreement".
The MDBA is considering the government's feedback and is expected to return a final version of the basin plan to Mr Burke within weeks.
The environment minister has said he wants the plan signed into law by the end of the year.
The coalition could move a disallowance motion and force the plan to a parliamentary vote, an outcome Mr Burke hopes to avoid through negotiation.
Senator Joyce said the government could get a basin agreement through parliament without coalition support.
However, to do so would involve the Australian Greens' water and Murray-Darling Basin spokeswoman, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, taking a larger role in the negotiations.
"For all the concerns people have . . . there's one thing they've all said in unison: that I must stay there, because if I'm not there, Sarah Hanson-Young will be there," he said.
"They know that under her they'll get a much worse deal."
Mr Burke has spent the past week in remote Cape York with traditional landowners, but said talks on the basin plan will resume "in earnest" in the coming days.