Support flows for basin plan Royal Commission


Support for a Royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan has flowed in NSW Parliament this week, with the NSW Nationals backing a petition presented by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party. 

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said the Association had called on the National Farmers Federation and the NSW Government to support a Commonwealth Royal Commission into the failings of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and its 2019 Annual Conference. 

“The Association’s members have said to government and the NFF that the Plan is having dire impacts on irrigation, agriculture and the riverine environment,” Mr Jackson said  

“The effects on Basin communities from the flawed policy and operation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and Commonwealth and State water authorities must be understood and remedied through the processes of a Royal Commission.” 
 
Mr Jackson said the changes that need to be made to the Plan and the water market are not simple. 

“The plan needs fixing. Our members have told government that the Plan is failing to deliver a fair outcome for farmers or the environment that it was meant to protect,” Mr Jackson said. 
 
“It was devised as a way of sharing water in a fair way that recognises and balances social, economic and environmental interests in the water. That is not happening and it is not delivering a fair deal for farmers.”

“There is also a clear need for better transparency in management of the plan, and that’s why there is benefit to having a Royal commission.”

“Irrigated agriculture is a vital part of regional economies and essential if the food and fibre industry is going to reach its potential as $100 billion industry by 2030. But the Plan is not providing the fair and transparent operating environment that is vital if regions in the Murray Darling Basin are to thrive.”

“Our members consider that there are fundamental policy, governance and implementation problems with the Plan that only a Royal Commission can uncover and resolve.”

“The science and modelling on which the environmental water was determined is flawed and outdated leaving farmers and regional communities in crisis. There are better ways to share water that will focus on achieving good outcomes for the environment, while maintaining the viability of the farming sector and regional communities.”

“Recovering water for the environment does not equal automatic environmental benefits, this water must be used wisely and in conjunction with complementary measures to maximise the environmental benefits.”

Date: Friday 28 February 2020
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au