The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie has reminded constituents to comment on the Murray Darling Basin Plan before submissions close on Monday.
“The Murray Darling Basin Authority has failed to properly engage with Victoria’s irrigation communities, as evidenced by the low number of submissions from farming families and local businesses,” she said.
“Victoria has contributed over a third of all submissions, and despite a restricted public consultation process, has given the Minister for Water and MDBA Chair Craig Knowles more than enough food for thought.
“Irrigators may feel like giving up on the plan, and feel they’re not being heard, but the future of Australia’s food bowl is at risk if this vital opportunity to comment on the future of Victoria’s water allocations is missed.
“Victoria has already conceded its fair share of water, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the plan doesn’t finish off farming communities.”
The National Party, scientists, and irrigators agree the MDBP’s lack of transparency makes it difficult to fully understand the social, economic and environmental implications of transferring water.
An opinion piece in the Country News this week confirms farmers have long been working on environmental outcomes for the land.
“One man wrote: ‘I have fenced off stands of native vegetation, incorporated water saving and soil management practices and participated extensively in land and river care programs in my area,’” Senator McKenzie said.
“This plan cannot afford to be a science experiment that threatens regional Australia’s ability to feed not only this country but many others.
“The affected communities have made it very clear what they think of the current plan, and Victoria has come up with great solutions that are win-win.”
Senator McKenzie said regional Victorians are sick of Federal Labor’s political game playing.
“Water Minister Tony Burke said this week he would not allow a bad plan to be adopted, and Victorians have been telling him for months that this plan fails to deliver on the triple bottom line,” she concluded.