Joint release with Tim McCurdy, Member for Murray Valley
The Age reports house prices in communities throughout the Murray Darling Basin have fallen by over four per cent – and substantially more in some Northern Victorian towns – since the release of the Federal Government’s Guide to the Draft Murray Darling Basin Plan in October 2010.
Publication of RP Data’s research into Murray Darling Basin house prices has revealed some dramatic local impacts that will be felt not only by farmers, but also the towns and industries that support them, Nationals Senator for Victoria Senator Bridget McKenzie said today.
“One of the towns listed in the study, Strathmerton, near Cobram, has seen prices fall by an astonishing 43 per cent,” Senator McKenzie said.
“I have visited Strathmerton, one of our iconic food producing areas built on the back of irrigated agriculture, where water is wealth, with The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy. Now it is listed among the vulnerable communities facing an uncertain future,” she said.
Mr McCurdy said Strathmerton is a progressive town with one of the largest processed cheese factories in the southern hemisphere, supplying national and international customers.
It is certainly not a dying town, it has industry, small businesses and great sporting and recreational facilities, he said.
“If this is the effect the Murray Darling Basin Plan will have on a progressive town such as Strathmerton, what hope do we have in towns which are already doing it tough?” Mr McCurdy asked.
“Dropping house prices have a flow on effect and impact everyone in these towns, with and without a mortgage – from the teenager working part-time at the takeaway shop, to the hairdressing apprentice and the local school teachers,” Senator McKenzie said.
The draft Basin Plan, together with the Federal Government’s botched water buyback program, represents a further blow to the long term viability of these communities.
“These towns need certainty in order to grow and prosper into the future – a certainty not provided by the draft Basin Plan, which fails to clearly explain how economic and social factors have been incorporated into its targets.
“Last year the government promised that it would scrap the Guide and deliver a triple bottom line but it has failed to demonstrate how it has achieved this.