A GOVERNMENT promise to table the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in parliament by the end of the year is looking less achievable than ever, local stakeholders have claimed.
The plan has hit several roadblocks in the past month and, with the final session of parliament only six weeks away, time is running out.
Negotiations between federal water minister Tony Burke and his state counterparts are still under way after new modelling found taking an additional 450 gigalitres from productive use would provide substantial benefits to the environment.
In addition, an amendment bill presented to parliament on September 23 has been referred to a senate committee.
"Regardless of the political process, the time frame for this plan to be introduced to parliament is too short," Murrumbidgee High Security Irrigators chief executive Brian Halse said.
"If I thought the delays would come out with something more sensible than what we've got, I would welcome them.
"I think they've had an agenda the whole way through and they haven't moved off that agenda.
"They're just taking their time as a way to pacify communities."
Murrumbidgee Food and Fibre Association president Debbie Buller believed the delay in negotiations was caused by the state ministers' inability to come to a consensus.
"It is looking less likely that this plan will be going to parliament by the end of the year," Mrs Buller said.
"I hope there are enough people involved now, with their heels dug in, that we'll be able to get a real outcome. If they're not prepared to get it right, we need to say no."
On numerous occasions, Mr Burke has threatened to use his "powers" over the states to push the plan through in time.
But he said each step was important in delivering a balanced plan.
"In making suggestions to the (Murray-Darling Basin) Authority for further changes to the basin plan, I will take into account the views of the states," he said.
"I still expect to present the basin plan to the parliament this year."
Coleambally Irrigation CEO John Culleton and Wine Grapes Marketing Board CEO Brian Simpson believed Mr Burke was so determined to put the plan to parliament this year that he would ensure it happened, despite the consequences.
"When the government has its mind set on something, they tend to do a lot of hours to push it through," Mr Simpson said.