National Farmers' Federation

MDBA chief may change, but farmers’ priorities don’t

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is pleased the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) finally has a new Chair in former NSW Minister and one-time Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council member Craig Knowles.
“We hope that Mr Knowles’ experience prepares him for the job ahead,” NFF President Jock Laurie explained. “He no doubt has a good understanding of the Murray-Darling Basin and management of its water resources.
“Regardless of who chairs the MDBA, it doesn’t change our position. Regional communities won’t accept what’s on the table. The Guide must change and change dramatically. The reaction at regional meetings held across the Basin is testimony to that.
“Mr Knowles’ first priority should be a sober re-examination and prioritisation of environmental goals the Basin Plan seeks to achieve, with a mature assessment of what environmental assets are key and what are the trade-offs. That must be the starting point to any further discussion.
“Only once we know that focus can any of us evaluate smart ways to deliver the outcomes that ensure farm production and regional communities are sustainable.
“We need a holistic view of the Basin – its water, its people, its economic drivers and its environmental needs. That has been lacking to date. This would be a good first step in winning back the trust and respect of Basin communities.”
[ENDS] Media Contact: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 or bheffernan@nff.org.au

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