National Farmers' Federation

Water Committee

The role of this Committee is to lead the national policy debate on the management of water, specifically the Murray Darling Basin Plan, action on the Great Artesian Basin and the National Water Initiative.

The overall objective is to play a role in the adoption of policies that delivers for agriculture, communities and the environment – the triple bottom line.

Key policy position include:

  • Basin States and Commonwealth commit to implement in full the recommendations of the 2018 Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan 
  • Governments to explore flexible pathways to allow new, improved or replacement SDLAM projects over time and ensure greater participation and communication.
  • Acquisition of water toward 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 socio-economic outcomes, consistent with criteria developed at the December 2018 Basin Ministerial Council.
  • Appropriate reforms to the water market that provide greater confidence and transparency in water trading, should be implemented expeditiously.
  • Genuine economic and social investment in communities adversely affected by water reforms must be a priority for governments.
  • A clear, proper process for over-recovered water to be addressed, including exploring the option to return water to the consumptive pool, informed by meaningful consultation with communities in affected valleys.
  • Governments must have a greater commitment to adopting complementary measures, that go beyond the existing requirements of the Plan, so as to optimise environmental outcomes.

Committee Chair: Les Gordon