NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has joined other state leaders in endorsing a plan for the Murray-Darling river system, despite calls from within her own government to ditch the long-standing agreement.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said earlier in the week the plan was "untenable for NSW" and not making major changes represented a missed opportunity to deliver certainty and transparency for drought-hit communities.
However, Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Cairns on Friday - after all basin states reaffirmed their commitment to the plan - working more closely with other states would positively impact on struggling rural communities in her state.
"What was signed this morning was a commitment in relation to freeing up infrastructure dollars to put back into those communities that are currently suffering," she said.
"If we can do a better job in increasing water storage and capacity that is going to help our communities into the future."
But she said all states needed to "pull their weight" in regard to the river system.
"The objective of the plan is not in question - it's how we deal with the plan given the current stresses on NSW and other parts of the basin that are covered."
South Australian Premier Steve Marshall said there had been a "coming together" at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on the importance of the plan.
"We need to be working together at this difficult time so that we can implement that plan but do it in a way which is going to be respectful for communities all along the Murray-Darling Basin," he said.
The leaders agreed to fast-track infrastructure for improving water availability.
As well, they signed onto a joint response to the Productivity Commission's five-year assessment of the plan and endorsed a new Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources.
Australian Associated Press