Farmers bitterly disappointed on water

NSW Farmers is bitterly disappointed the Federal Government has caved in to the South Australian Government by proposing to return an additional 450 gigalitres of water to the environment..

NSW Farmers’ water spokesperson Helen Dalton said the announcement had all the makings of a good news story for farm families, basin communities, consumers and the environment.

“But here we are again talking about a magic number the government hopes will translate into one happy state government at the cost of the vast majority of the Murray Darling Basin,” she said.

“Make no mistake. We are pleased that the Federal Government has finally realised the enormous bang for buck it will get from investing heavily in infrastructure and on-farm efficiency.

“But the significance of this is diminished by the suggestion we flush the equivalent of almost an entire Sydney Harbour down river systems that simply cannot hold that amount of water.”

Ms Dalton said the $1.77 billion committed today won’t come close to covering the costs of removing constraints such as low-lying bridges, houses, towns and decommissioning purpose-built irrigation areas.

“My family lives in the basin. We account for every drop of water we use and we invest in technologies and techniques to minimise our water use,” she said.

“Yet the Federal Government can splash around water without an environmental watering plan, or a full understanding of the implications of how and when it will be delivered.

“We all want a healthy basin. Water is a scare and valuable resource that must be planned for and managed efficiently and effectively. What we don’t want is a plan that is driven by politics, headlines and rhetoric, which I am bitterly disappointed to say appears to be the case.”

She said the basin’s future depended upon recognising and responding to the needs of people, the communities and the environment of the basin and then supporting them with solid investment in infrastructure, research and development.

The Murray Darling Basin covers three quarters of NSW, including some of the most strategically important land and water resources for agriculture in the state.  It produces over one third of Australia’s food supply; produces 95 percent of Australian oranges; supports 28 percent of the nation’s cattle herd, 45 percent of sheep and 62 percent of pigs.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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