UPDATE: A FINAL plan to restore the Murray Darling Basin system is a step closer after a key piece of legislation cleared the Senate.The Senate passed a bill today that will allow adjustments to the amount of water that can be sustainably taken from the basin.
The Murray Darling Basin Authority needed to wait for the bill to get the green light before handing a final version of its basin plan to Environment Minister Tony Burke.
The minister can now press ahead with plans to sign the national strategy for the basin into law.
Mr Burke, who will speak at the National Press Club tomorrow, welcomed the step, confirming on Twitter that the MDBA was now free to present the long-awaited plan.
However, opposition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce warned that even though the coalition had backed the bill, that didn't guarantee it would support the final basin plan.
Senator Joyce said he would need to know exactly how the adjustment process outlined in the bill would work, before agreeing to the final plan.
Under the bill, any adjustments to the sustainable diversion limits (SDLs) may not be more than 5 per cent above or below the total amount and must be put to parliament and the public.
Under amendments made in the lower house, the environment minister of the day has the final say on any adjustment levels, not the MDBA.
The coalition, the Australian Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon moved amendments to the bill, but all were defeated.
The Senate still needs to debate another piece of legislation linked to funding an extra 450GL of water per year for the Murray ecosystem, but that legislation is also expected to be passed.