National Farmers' Federation

Submission to the Water for the Environmental Special Account review

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the invitation to make a submission to the Independent Review of the Water for the Environment Special Account (WESA).

The NFF is the peak national body representing farmers and, more broadly, agriculture across Australia. On matters related to water, the NFF is the only national body that brings a 100 percent farmer-focused viewpoint and represent the interests of farmers that are affected by water management decisions including irrigators, riparian and floodplain landholders and stock and domestic users.

The NFF acknowledges the recovery of 450 GL ‘up water’ efficiency measures additional to the 2,750 GL Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Plan) which was agreed to in 2012 provided there would be neutral or positive socio-economic impacts. At the December 2018 Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting, Ministers agreed to the additional socio-economic criteria for potential efficiency measure projects.

The NFF contributed to the development of this criteria to reflect broader community impacts associated with further water recovery and thus, supports the additional criteria. In the context of efficiency measures, the NFF’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan policy is that:

  • Acquisition of water towards the 450 GL should prioritise off-farm sources to ensure the consumptive pool is not reduced, and should be linked to progress on relaxing constraints to enable the water to be delivered, consistent with the Productivity Commission recommendation.
  • The recovery of the additional 450 GL can only proceed if there are no negative socioeconomic outcomes, consistent with criteria developed at the December 2018 Basin Ministerial Council.

Overall, it appears unlikely recovery of the 450 GL will be achieved on budget, and by 2024 for a number of reasons outlined below.

To view the full submission, click here.

Add comment