Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie is calling for more certainty in the wake of today’s announcement by the Murray Darling Basin Authority that a total of about 2 750 billion litres will be taken from farming and allocated to environmental flows.
“The new Plan provides farmers in the Goulburn Valley with less information, less transparency and less certainty than the 2010 Guide to the draft Plan.”
Shepparton farmers can expect to be significantly effected. 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.
“We recognize the need for environmental flows but not at the expense of water that is needed for dairy farming, fruit production and for the region’s large food processing industry. Northern Victoria can expect to see job losses in the vicinity of 15,000 and the men and women who work at Kraft Foods, Tatura Milk and the Meiji-MGC Dairy Company have every right to be concerned.”
“Last year’s Guide to the draft Plan was wholehearted rejected by Basin communities and sent back to include an analysis of its socio-economic impact on basin communities. What has been released today only contains superficial analysis of the implication of removing water from areas that are so highly dependent on irrigation,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Given that the southern Basin will be providing 85 per cent of the water required, I’d like to see the details of how the water will be used, and where.”
“The MDBA socio-economic modelling has not addressed the fundamental concern that taking water away from productive use will hurt irrigators and Basin communities,” said Senator McKenzie.
Around 35 per cent of the Shepparton community is largely dependent on a profitable irrigated farm sector. As a result, it is essential to the economic prosperity of Victoria and the social fabric of the region that irrigated farming continues to prosper within the Goulburn Valley.
The draft Basin Plan leaves too many questions unanswered and fails to provide security for the 2.1 million Australians who live in the Basin and the more than 1 million who rely on it for water supplies.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie will be in Shepparton on Tuesday and Wednesday to hear the concerns of the community.