Farmers distressed by Government decision maintaining zero allocations of general security irrigation water

Drought-affected irrigation farmers in the Murray and Lachlan valleys are deeply distressed by the New South Wales Government’s decision to maintain zero allocations of general security irrigation water.

NSW Farmers President, James Jackson, said the New South Wales Government must explain to drought-affected irrigators why their general security entitlements have been maintained at zero when the Dartmouth Dam is at 90 per cent and where irrigators in other states are seeing higher entitlements maintained.

“Farmers in New South Wales, dealing with the impact of one of the worst droughts on record, are scratching their heads today wondering what on earth is going on”, Mr Jackson said.

“Farmers have been asking for the New South Wales Government to provide an early allocation, on a brought forward basis, of as little as one per cent of their entitlement.  This allocation, to be returned once it rains, will enable the finishing of winter crops which will otherwise die without water.”

“By bringing forward water, these farmers can do their bit to assist struggling producers across the rest of the state tackle the need for increased supply of fodder to keep animals alive into the spring and summer.”

Mr Jackson called for the New South Wales Government to fully explain their decision.

“The Berejiklian Government must explain their decision to reduce to zero the entitlement of water to our farmers north of the Murray River.  Have they considered every innovative policy option to provide even the smallest amount of water to assist these irrigators already doing it tough due to the drought?”

“NSW Farmers wants to ensure that any water made available is done so lawfully, but that is also made available to meet the good faith expectations of the community.  Licence holders are only asking for a fraction of their entitlement – they deserve answers to justify the decision to give them nothing.” 

“NSW Farmers members in the Murray region will meet in Deniliquin on Tuesday morning to express their concerns and call for action.  The State Member for Murray, Austin Evans MP, will also be in attendance.  Farmers want answers – will their Government have them?”, Mr Jackson concluded. 

Date:  Tuesday 4 September 2018
Media Contact:   Kathleen Curry  |  Public Affairs Director | 0429 011 690