National Farmers' Federation

NFF urges Ministers to consider communities in upwater decision

This Friday, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council will consider measures to better define the socio-economic impacts of acquiring a further 450 gigalitres of ‘upwater’.
The National Farmers’ Federation is reminding Ministers of the importance of a holistic approach to upwater measures.
NFF Water Taskforce Chair, Les Gordon urged Ministers to ensure that the decisions they made created and applied robust analytical measures to any proposal to acquire extra water.
“The NFF has continued to express concern that upwater measures would have a negative impact on the consumptive pool, and therefore irrigators.
“The best pathway is to exhaust any and all opportunities that exist where the consumptive pool is not under further pressure, this means off-farm measures.
Mr Gordon said that the EY report (published earlier this year) and the recent Productivity Commission draft report, both acknowledged that there were preferred ways of acquiring upwater.
“These methods include explicit consideration of potential socio-economic impacts in program design, and innovative or novel approaches from other contributors.
“The NFF notes the Productivity Commission also raised concerns about the current timelines for delivery of Water Resource Plans, supply measures and efficiency measures.
“We support considering delays where there is a feasible outcome achievable from the extended timeframe that would otherwise be compromised by rushed implementation.
“These outcomes not only need to be cognisant of the legislative requirements, but also of the very real impacts being felt across Basin communities. Mr Gordon said it was also critical that jurisdictions remain focussed on ensuring effective and comprehensive consultation on the 605GL efficiency measures.
“The recent consultations and public debate made it very clear that additional criteria for socio-economic impacts was critically important. We trust that Ministers will focus on meeting those needs.”
“Irrigators expect a clear direction to emerge and to be absolved of the increasingly shrill commentariat and get on with the business of farming. Maybe, then a relaxed Christmas will ensure,” Mr Gordon said.

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