National Farmers' Federation

Basin communities need certainty

The world has moved on from when the Basin Plan was established in 2012 and it must adapt to new circumstances.

“The upcoming election will be crucial for Basin communities. The next Government will preside over the critical 2024 reconciliation and there have been no answers to how this issue will be addressed,” NFF Water Committee Chair Malcolm Holm said.

“Basin communities must not be faced with the prospect of more water buybacks. Governments must articulate a pathway beyond 2024, using the 2018 five-yearly Productivity Commission report as a starting point. This will be critical to giving Basin communities confidence, including for investment.”

The NFF believes the 450 GL recovery target cannot be achieved from the consumptive pool nor from river operations and is therefore not supported.

“The Sefton socio-economic review of the Basin and other reports highlighted the profound and uneven social and economic impacts of constant water reform and the need for governments to work with, and rebuild the trust of basin communities.”

“Labor’s recent comments on restoring the original socio-economic definition under the 450 GL is short-sighted and risks reigniting unnecessary conflict within Basin communities on an issue that is clearly unsupported by Basin states.

“The Commonwealth should focus on supporting states implementing the sustainable diversion limit projects, some of which are unlikely to be completed in 2024.

“In an election year we expect all parties to be committing to sustainable outcomes for Basin communities and ensuring there is confidence that future policies will not undermine already seriously impacted communities. This means focusing on the future and not revisiting the follies of the past.

“All parties must be upfront and honest about their intentions leading up to the election. Basin communities deserve nothing less as they grapple with their futures,” Mr Holm said.

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