7 December 2011
To say Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone is disappointed following the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s draft environmental plan last week would be an understatement.
Dr Stone said the plan showed, ‘‘they still do not understand what is needed for a sustainable environment without killing local water dependent economies’’.
‘‘What other country in the world would continue to take water from food production in this era of mounting global food shortages, while they continue to mismanage the huge volumes of environmental water already taken out of agriculture, while there is no environmental water management plan, and while they simply play games with how much water has already been taken, and what they want to get to placate the metropolitan based Greens,’’ she said.
‘‘If you trace every gigalitre already purchased or re-allocated to environmental flow in the Murray-Darling Basin since we began this process in the late 1980s, you can account for more than 5000
‘‘However, this new plan only accounts for the last few years of claw back and continues to fail to focus on the improved environmental works and measures that are essential if every drop of environmental water is to get where it may do the greatest good.’’
Dr Stone said it was distressing to see the plan expected Victoria to lose more food producing water compared to any other state, despite the water use efficiencies made in the past 40 years, and the biggest environmental water contribution already made.
‘‘Unfortunately, northern Victoria is to make the greatest job loss sacrifice and see its food production contract the most because our irrigation water supply has been built to be the most secure in the basin,’’ she said.,
‘‘Most of our small towns and all of our regional cities in the Goulburn and Murray valleys have food factories, employing directly and indirectly tens of thousands of people.
‘‘It has been calculated that for every 100
‘‘Shepparton farmers can expect to be significantly affected. The Goulburn Valley provides nearly 20 per cent of Victoria’s agricultural production and 80 per cent of this production is only possible as a result of irrigation,’’ Senator McKenzie said.
‘‘We recognise the need for environmental flows but not at the expense of water that is needed for dairy farming, fruit production and for the regions large food processing industry.
‘‘Northern Victoria can expect to see job losses in the vicinity of 15